Author: A. Nutt
Decorative and special effects lenses are rapidly increasing in popularity. People who were unhappy with their regular eye color can now simply pop in a different colored lens and be instantly transformed into someone else for an evening or weekend, and that person will often gain a good bit of confidence with the transformation. It's not uncommon for some people to have several different pairs of decorative or special effects lenses so they can change eye color to match different outfits for different occasions.
Special effects lenses are used in conjunction with Halloween and costume parties and in theater productions all year long. Some special effects lenses are the piece that makes a costume complete - like a cat's eye.
All too often though, someone will buy a special effects lens from an unreliable source to save time and money and end up suffering with a painful eye problem because of it.
It's true that decorative special effects contact lenses come in both prescription strengths as well as in zero-powered strengths so that people who don't have vision problems can comfortably wear them - this, however, does not meant that you don't have to be careful and take appropriate precautions before wearing them.
There's a popular misconception that just because the contact lenses aren't prescription strength that they are safe to be worn by anyone at any time without any risk to the wearer. Special effects contact lenses can, in reality, cause many eye problems, but there are some steps that someone who wants to wear them can take to ensure that they will be as safe as possible during the time that have the decorative contact lenses on.
What to do to be Safe
Before you sit down at your computer and order a pair of special effects lenses from some overseas store on the internet or run out and get a pair from a vending machine at a costume shop - you should know that these practices are likely to land you at the Optometrist with a nasty eye infection.
Your best bet to get a comfortable, high quality pair of lenses that will fit you properly is to schedule an appointment with a licensed eye care professional for an exam. Your eye exam will tell you for certain if it will be safe for you to wear lenses. If your exam shows that wearing contacts is safe for you, you'll likely be able to get fitted and purchase the lenses that you want right at the office. This will ensure that you get the best quality product from someone who is supposed to be selling it. Even zero powered decorative contact lenses must be distributed through a licensed outlet, just because they aren't designed to correct a vision problem doesn't mean that anyone who wants to sell them is allowed to sell them.
If you already wear contacts regularly, you should still ask your regular eye care professional what their opinion of you wearing special effects lenses is. If you haven't had an eye exam in a while, they may want to see you to make sure the decorative lenses that you chooses will be available in your prescription so as to not cause any problems.
If you decide that wearing special effects lenses is for you and you are cleared to do so by a licensed professional, be sure to follow the instructions for wearing and caring for your lenses. Just like wearing regular contact lenses, you shouldn't wear them to bed, in the ocean or a pool and you should never swap lenses with anyone - even if they have the same prescription as you.
Even the slightest miss-step in following these instructions could lead to a serious eye problem - a problem much worse than not liking your current eye color.
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