Are Colored Contacts Safe?

The General Optical Council and Trading Standards warn people to avoid dangerous novelty contact lenses and opt only for cosmetic lenses fitted by qualified Opticians.

If you’re thinking about going for a dramatic new look, then cosmetic contact lenses can be an eye-catching way to transform your appearance. Demonstrated by Kanye West when Kim Kardashian posted this photo of him in startling blue lenses on Instagram.

Wolves

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Cosmetic lenses come in all different colors and styles, from natural looking blue and brown lenses to the more unusual novelty snake eye or all-black lenses.

Do you know exactly which type of lenses are safe and which are not?

What are cosmetic contact lenses?

First of all, what do we mean by cosmetic contact lenses?

Cosmetic lenses fit over the surface of the eye just the same as normal contact lenses.

However cosmetic contact lenses are made to alter the appearance of the eyes and can either be made to prescription or left as zero-power ‘plano’ lenses depending on the brand and where you’re buying from.

When are cosmetic contact lenses dangerous?

Whilst professional brand cosmetic contact lenses are safe to use, you may have spotted novelty cosmetic contact lenses being sold in fancy dress shops, market stalls, online or in other non-specialist stores.

According to the General Optical Council it is a criminal offense for contact lenses to be sold without the supervision of a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or medical practitioner, so these vendors are actually breaking the law and should be avoided at all costs.

Cosmetic contact lenses that have not been approved for use and fitted by a qualified eye health professional can be very dangerous to wear.

Which colored contact lenses are safe?

Coloured contact lenses like those that we sell at SelectSpecs are produced by professional contact lens brands like FreshLook and Air Optix.

These lenses are safe as long as they have been recommended and fitted by a professional and you have attended an aftercare appointment to ensure that they are suitable for your eyes.

Our range of colored contact lenses come in a variety of colors to help you change your look, from natural shades of blue and brown to more unusual greens and violet.

We love Kylie Jenner in these bright blue lenses!

For fun

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

Risks of buying illegal cosmetic contacts

Contact lenses need to be fitted properly.  If they have not been fitted by a professional and you haven’t received advice on best use and care, then there is a risk that they may not be suitable for your eyes.

‘One-size fits all’ lenses may not meet medical standards and could cause a whole host of serious eye problems including:

  • Infections
  • Red, sore and watery eyes
  • Ulcers
  • Swelling
  • Allergic reaction
  • Vision impairment or sight loss

If you come across any vendors illegally selling cosmetic contact lenses then you can report them to the General Optical Council’s legal compliance department by emailing: lc@optical.org or calling 020 7307 3931.

Find out more about contact lens care here

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