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Sensory Glossary Lifestyle

Colored Contacts: Just Fashionable or Also Functional?

5 months, 1 week ago

4154  0
Posted on Feb 14, 2024, 5 p.m.

Contact lenses are among the most commonly used eyewear across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 45 million people in the US regularly wear contact lenses. Arguably, a significant chunk of these wearers also use colored contacts, given that these are seeing massive demand. In fact, a Data Bridge Market Research report revealed that the colored contacts market will be worth over $7 billion by 2030.

However, despite the popularity of colored contact lenses, many consider them more of an accessory than anything else. This is likely because of the rise of “fashion lenses,” which are more exaggerated options like those with designs on the lenses, bolder colors, or oversized scleras. These are different from traditional colored lenses, which are designed to mimic more natural eye colors and appearances. But while colored contacts can be used for fashion, they can also serve specific beneficial functions. Read on to find out what these are:

Corrects vision

While most people associate only clear lenses with vision correction, colored contacts can also aid in this way. Prescription contact lenses are typically made from a breathable material for optimal comfort, along with a variety of colors, usually within the more “natural” spectrum of eye colors like hazels, blues, and greens. To illustrate, a popular brand of monthly-colored contacts available with vision correction is AIR OPTIX COLORS. These come with 3-in-1 color technology to enhance dark and light eyes. As long as they are used correctly, these colored contacts can last their full shelf-life while consistently correcting vision. That said, while FDA-approved for single vision correction or astigmatism, these colored contacts cannot cater to multifocal prescriptions.

Helps with color blindness

Globally, over 300 million people are diagnosed with color blindness or color vision deficiency. Those with this condition usually struggle to differentiate certain colors like reds, greens, blues, and yellows. A small percentage of people cannot see color at all. Although color blindness doesn’t impact daily tasks, and there is no cure, colored contacts are among the medically approved management solutions for it. Using custom-made lenses colored with non-toxic dyes, a patient’s eyes can better perceive contrast. Aside from these dyes, these contacts also use special filters that can alter which wavelengths enter the eyes. For instance, Colormax contacts enable the eyes to differentiate colors in lieu of chunky glasses or invasive procedures.

Covers eye damage

Much like the rest of the body, the eyes can also be wounded. In some cases, even when healed, the eyes are “scarred” and may show damage. For example, a blunt ocular injury can result in a ruptured iris. While these disfigurements do not always cause vision issues to a person, some may prefer to camouflage this completely. In such cases, prosthetic contact lenses can be prescribed. These are made to suit a person’s natural eye, thereby hiding any corneal scars, pupillary abnormalities, and more. An example of this is Alcon Dailies, which can be used by those with albinism who wish to tone down the red hues in their eyes.

Decreases photosensitivity

Colored contact lenses can also reduce glare. Also called performance contact lenses, this option includes single-use soft lenses with a precise tint. Similar to how tints work in polarized glasses, these performance contacts can reduce glare by “balancing out” different lighting conditions. Case in point, Altius lenses come in a grey-green color, specifically made for how light changes in water and land activities. Since these can cut out distracting bursts of harsh light, these contacts can improve concentration, alertness, and athletic performance. It should be noted that the colors on these contacts are applied across the lens instead of just in the iris area. Because the tints are not fully opaque, they do not drastically change the eye’s appearance. That said, those who don’t need to cut out glare but suffer from photosensitivity can still benefit from darker-colored contacts that limit the light that enters the eye.

This article was written for WHN by RUTH ANN JOHN who is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about health, wellness, and sustainability. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard, you can find her completing an oil painting or doing DIY projects.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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