Hey, nice eyes. Are they yours?

By Shannon King
April 25, 2002

photo by Catharine Hernson

Jewelry, make-up, tattoos, body piercing and now, colored contacts. These fashions for your eyes are the latest craze in “decorating” your body. Make-up has always been an option for people who don’t like the black circles under their eyes, their incredibly light eyelashes or their pale cheeks. Until recently, if you were less than thrilled with your brown eyes, you were out of luck because there was nothing you could do about it. Now however, there are colored contacts available to help you out in an area that was previously off limits.

There are so many different kinds of contacts that are available for everyone, including for those who have perfect 20/20 vision. According to Gina Puma, contact lens technician at Galman and Friedberg Eye Associates in Woodbury, N..J., there are two different kinds of colored contacts. “There are enhancers that are for light eyes such as blue or light green eyes and there are opaque contacts that are darker to change the color of brown and darker green eyes,” Puma said. “You can get contacts with your prescription or plano contacts that come without a prescription for people who don’t need glasses.”

There are colored contacts that are available that have designs on them too. If you want cat eyes it’s now possible, and alien eyes and 8-balls are no longer impossible to get. Even though they are a fun way express your personality, contacts can also be a health hazard. “A contact lens provides the perfect warm, moist environment on which bacteria thrive,” says the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

“One of the most dangerous things you can do for your eyes is to exchange contacts with a friend,” said Puma. “It can lead to infection and can be uncomfortable to wear. Contacts have a base curve in diameter that are specially formed to the measurements of an individual’s eye. Wearing someone else’s contacts can be uncomfortable at the least. They can feel like there is something in your eye or they could even fall out.” This is why even putting your contacts in the wrong eyes can be uncomfortable or ineffective. According to Puma, wearing the wrong prescription contacts can cause later damage to your eyes.

Infection is the main thing that people have to worry about. To make it easier on people to clean their contacts, Renu has marketed a product that is “No Rub.” It allows people to just take out their contacts and put them away without the hassle of separate enzyme cleaners and rubbing to get the protein off of them. Customers can also choose contacts that can be worn for 2 weeks and thrown away, monthly wear or yearly wear. Puma said that the policy for contacts at the Eye Associates is that if you open the box, you can’t return them.

Even though contacts can be dangerous if not worn and handled correctly, there are also contacts that offer very beneficial protection. There are contacts available that offer UV protection from the sun. They block 90 percent of the sun’s UV rays and can save your eye from very serious sun damage. However, they only cover the cornea and the rest of the eye is left unprotected. No one should depend solely on UV protectant contacts for their sun protection. Sunglasses provide protection for a much larger area of the eye and the delicate skin around the eye.

The next time you’re looking to change your appearance, contacts can be a unique way to bring out the life in your eyes.

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Shannon King

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