MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Why do coloured contact lenses have problems that normal ones don't?

Date: Thu Oct 23 00:11:33 2003
Posted By: Kenton L. McWilliams, O.D., Optometrist , St. Louis, Missouri
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1066253376.Me

Hi Steven,

     This is a very good question and I will try to give my best guess as 
to why some actors may have problems witth colored contact lenses.  I can 
also tell you from my clinical experience why some patients may have 
difficulty with colored contact lenses.
     Most people who wear contact lenses wear soft disposable contact 
lenses and have learned how to wear and care for them.  Every new wearer 
goes through a training process that gears them toward contact lens wear 
before they leave my office.  There is also a sort of "break in" period to 
adjust to wearing contact lenses.  These patients can switch to colored 
contact lenses with little or no difficulty.  Colored contact lenses can 
correct your vision just like regular clear contact lenses with an added 
benefit of changing the appearance of your eye.  There are also some minor 
differences in their properties and how they are manufactured. 
     Some people, including some actors I presume, have never worn contact 
lenses as a vision correction.  Their need is purely cosmetic (ie. to 
change eye color or correct a disfigured iris).  In my practice, it is 
sometimes difficult for some of these patients to adjust to wearing 
colored contact lenses for the first time.  Like anything, practice makes 
perfect and most people have no problem adjusting to contact lens wear.  
     Furthermore, there are many other factors that play a role in 
successful contact lens wear.  Some of them include but are not limited 
to; proper contact lens hygiene and care, maintaining proper wearing 
schedule, contact lens related infections, and routine check-ups by your 
eye doctor.  Remember, only a licensed optometrist or physician can 
prescribe contact lenses and it is important to follow wearing 
instructions and follow up visits.  All contact lenses are considered 
medical devices and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates them 
similar to any presription medication.
     I hope this helps.  Good luck!

Kenton L. McWilliams, O.D.

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