My experience with colour contact lenses

Hey guys,

I’ve talked about my experiences with wearing colour contact lenses and contact lenses in general in my old blog which I’ve now deleted but I’ve been ‘inspired’ or ‘triggered’ to rewrite a slightly modified account of my experiences with mass produced colour contact lenses and contact lenses in general.

Before I begin, I’d like to stress that I am not an eyecare professional and you should see your optometrist for further queries. I am just sharing my experiences in an attempt to encourage others to see the dangers of illfitting lenses.

My first exposure to and use of (mass produced)colour contact lens began in Year 8, 5 years ago. To clarify, all my colour contact lens had prescriptions – Looking back I consider them semi prescripted as the prescription was correct but the base curve was not correct though not too far off.

I was and still am content with the colour of my eyes so why would I risk my eyes wearing these mass produced colour contact lens?

My parents would not purchase contacts of any variety whether it be soft or hard contact lenses and I was not of the legal age to be working and what little income I received (I used to make and sell DIY goods as well as resell fashion on sites like Facebook – pocket money was a foreign concept in my household and I was not of the minimum age to work) would not amount to anything substantial enough to afford soft or hard contact lenses. Soft lenses cost around $90 for a box of 30 lenses whereas hard lenses cost around $1500 for both the actual lens and optometrist check up and contact advice/help. Funny story when the optometrist was meant to be teaching me how to insert the contact lens, I popped it in not blinking like YO WhaT’s NeW LoOK @ HoW MeTAL I Am and then proceeded to cry when I blinked because the hard contact was pressed against my eye and it hurt because of the pressure which I had not experience previously(the pressure is normal).

My eyesight had gradually worsened from straining and bad lighting conditions during selective test period during my last two years of primary school (or that’s what I assume) –  because I’d be reading fiction books in the dark by torchlight because parents disapproved of me reading fiction novels but that’s a story for another day as well as playing piano in darkly lit conditions – I also took lessons in darkly lit conditions because the lamp light on my original piano teacher’s piano was orange and it wasn’t exactly soothing either.

In a nutshell, I am shortsighted – some people consider my degree of my eyes to not be serious but for me anything that impacted the way I lived was bad – including shooting hoops in sport – something that I really like to do was shoot long distance hoops using one hand in basketball and I used to shoot short distance hoops in netball in primary but I’m used to long distance throws so there’s no turning back. I didn’t have a set formula to shoot but I just had to have a clear view of the hoop like HD 1080p clear view. I only wore glasses when I ended up sitting at the back in class and I couldn’t see the front fonts properly but apart from that I didn’t wear glasses because I found them extremely annoying as my nose isn’t the tallest nose out there which meant that it was easy for the glasses to slide down the bridge of my nose. Also, I don’t know why but glasses distort my perception, I was wearing glasses once outside of the learning environment(too lazy to take them off) and I was going up the stairs when I almost tripped because of a perception hiccup. This was when I vowed to myself that I would never wear glasses unless I had to.

Exposed to the online world of selling and buying, I stumbled across colour contact lens that could also come in prescriptions and only costed around $25-30+ AUD and also last up to a year, I was ready to risk my eyes BUT risk with as much reading into the care and precautions beforehand. Another storytime was when I first received my first pair of colour contact lenses and contact lenses in general, I actually failed several times inserting it into my eye and school photos were tomorrow – I actually ended up with one colour contact in my eye and one normal eye in the school photos – I actually don’t know where my school photo albums are but if I ever do a storytime video of dumb risks like these I’ve taken, I’ll show you guys the picture. s o  i c o n i  c or should I say e y e  c o n i c

A popular brand, GEO had and still has fakes being manufactured by companies who want to ride on the brand name to make profits. But in general, approach things sold online not sold by an authorised seller with caution. With soft lenses, there is a tendency for them to flip inside out and if the print of the lenses goes both ways it’s often difficult to figure out which is the wrong and right side – if it’s correctly ‘flipped’, when viewed from a side view, the lens should resemble a gentle hybrid between a bowl and a plate.

Recently, Halloween hype, I’ve noticed people around me saying that they want to wear these funky ass ‘mass produced’ colour contact lenses they’ve purchased 3 years ago but haven’t opened and they weren’t aware of the dangers of wearing contact lenses in a one-size-fits-all size. It dawned to me then that it was this easy to overlook one of our precious organs: our eyes.

Every individual’s eyeball shape is different and in order for the contact lenses to not damage the eyeballs, the fit has to be right hence the base curve is very important – most colour contact lenses host a base curve of 8.6. Mine personally, accurate as of last checkup I had is 8.5.

  • If you haven’t opened the lenses and it’s past the expiration date, I personally would not risk it.

If you have to wear mass produced contact lenses 

  • Most lenses are 14.00 in diameter – if the lenses are smaller than the reccommended standard size, this can cause the lens to slip and slide on the wearer’s eye which is no better than an incorrect base curve fit.
  • Ensure that you are purchasing it from a legit seller
  • Ensure that you wash your hands before and after you insert your lenses
  • Ensure you disinfect your contact lenses using the appropriate solution and not just water as tap water carries bacteria.
  • If possible, apply makeup AFTER inserting the contact lenses especially if you’re new to contact lenses as makeup from the eyes such as mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow or even foundation can get caught in the lens if not inserted properly. The moisture from the eye as well as the contact lens encasing any trapped makeup makes for perfect ground for breeding bacteria.
  • Do not leave the contact lenses in the contact solution for more than 2 days (some inform you that 1 week in the same solution but personally, I don’t feel comfortable unless I’m regularly changing the solution whilst it’s being stored)

Otherwise

  • Just don’t wear mass produced contact lenses 
  • Instead opt for personally and professionally crafted contact lenses approved by an optometrist – examples of this are listed on the OPSM website: http://www.opsm.com.au/contact-lenses/coloured
  • As with any contact lenses,  eye drops applied and left to sit for a few second prior application and post removal prevent the chances of the contact sticking to your eye and ripping out or scratching the cornea (outer part of your eye)

I’ve stopped wearing colour contact lenses in Year 12, about 2 years ago and have been only wearing night contacts (hard contacts) and life is much easier with less worry concerning whether the contact lenses are the wrong size or whether they lenses are flipped inside out.

A youtuber I’ve stumbled across explains this in more depth in the link provided below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UGRn5Nx-y4

Now that I look back, I have been extremely blessed by the luck of the luck gods that nothing majorly medical has occured to my eyes during the 3 ish years I’ve been wearing colour contact lenses almost daily. If you can, avoid wearing mass produced contact lenses. Otherwise take EXTREME hygiene and research precautions before purchasing and wearing. 

Disclaimer

Thanks for reading – any advice/feedback is appreciated!

Emily

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Design student | Sydney

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