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Colour Your Eyes: 8 Tips for Wearing Coloured Contacts Safely

woman with red hair and white contact lenses

Do you want vampire eyes for a role in a play or Halloween? Maybe you're cosplaying for a con and the character you're portraying has purple eyes. All of this is possible when you get yourself a set of coloured contact lenses.

Whether you have 20/20 vision or wear glasses or contacts, coloured contacts can transform your eyes in an instant. But how much do you really know about using these contacts?

Just as with regular contact lenses, there are some precautions you should know of when using coloured contacts. Here are 8 ways to colour your eyes safely.

1. Go Get an Eye Exam

Look no further than your regular eye doctor to get coloured contact lenses. Even if you’re using the lenses for a one-off occasion, you should still treat them as a medical device. They're not toys, even if they are a novelty item and are used for cosmetic reasons.

If you have contact lenses that are too tight, or if the curvature is too short, it can scratch your eye and cause irritation. There's a fitting process just like with any other contact lens. Ignore this step, and you run the risk of scratches on your cornea, corneal infection, pink eye and decreased vision or blindness.

By having an eye exam, you’ll not only get fitted for contacts, but you’ll also find out if you have any underlying issues. Your doctor can then instruct you on wearing contacts safely or if it’s advisable to wear them at all. Your eye doctor can also teach you how to properly care for your contacts to lessen the chances of infection.

2. Get a Prescription

Once you see your doctor, he or she will give you a valid prescription that you can plug into a reputable contact lens website to complete your order. If you want to save your eyeballs the pain, get a prescription before shopping online for your coloured contacts.

3. Avoid Using Anime and Circle Lenses

Asian woman in anime costume wearing circle lenses

The anime and circle lenses used in cosplay to make eyes look bigger are not approved by Health Canada as medical devices. They are known as novelties and they are not regulated.

These contact lenses may not fit correctly and they will also deprive your eyes of oxygen. In fact, these lenses are 2 or 3 times more likely to cause corneal infections.

There are other ways to get the big eye effect without damaging your eyes. Most of the time, a simple contour makeup will make the illusion happen. It's a better alternative to the large anime lenses that may potentially cause harm.

If you have made your mind up and want lenses that will give the appearance of larger eyes, there are safer alternatives.

4. Go to a Reputable Provider

Do not use websites that allow you to order contacts without prescriptions. These websites are unlicensed.. Illegally operating vendors usually carry contact lenses that are not Health Canada approved. This means you have a higher risk of eye injury or even blindness when you wear their lenses.

The biggest problem with these non-approved brands is that they are typically made as one-size-fits-all. But not all eyes are created equal. Here is a list of places you shouldn't go for your lenses:

Any store where you won't have to provide your prescription is not the place to go for lenses. They probably won’t come with care instructions. You also won't have the opportunity for any follow-up care. The good news is, many reputable name brand providers carry coloured contacts.

5. Don’t Let Your Friends Wear Your Contacts

Keep in mind that your lenses should fit on your eyes perfectly. If you let your friend wear them, they probably won't fit. This can cause scratches, lack of oxygen to your eyes, and general discomfort.

Besides that, sharing contact lenses is a little gross. Swapping lenses, even ones with absolutely no power, can harm both person’s eyes. Your friend can pick up your eye germs, and vice versa.

6. Dispose of Your Contacts Within Their Set Time Frames

If you're just wearing your contact lenses for a one-time event, such as Halloween, make sure you toss them out at the end of the night. Since you probably won’t need them until the next Halloween, count them as one-time use contacts. You can only store contacts in solution for a maximum of 30 days, even if they’re designed for long-term wear.

Daily disposables are great for one-off costumes because you throw them away right afterwards. They're more healthy to wear than non-disposable contacts because you start off fresh every time you wear contacts.

7. Take Proper Care of Them

washing contact with solution

You pay good money for your contact lenses, so make sure you take good care of them. You need to always handle your contacts with clean hands and use sterile solution. These care instructions are the same for both regular contacts and coloured ones. If you do this, you can enjoy wearing your lenses safely and without worry.

8. Follow Directions

You want to follow all your doctor’s instructions. This not only goes for cleaning your lenses but also wearing them as well. Have a follow-up with your eye doctor to see if everything is going okay with your eye health. If it’s not, they will steer you in the right direction.

See your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms: redness, pain that won't go away after a period of time or a decrease in vision. The issue may be a result of damage caused by infection or improper contact lens use. Or it might be something more concerning that your doctor can address.

Switch up Your Eye Colour Safely

colour your eyes with purple, blue, green, yellow contacts

It's okay to get a pair of contact lenses to colour your eyes, but you're going to want to do it the right way to avoid injury and infection. Visit your doctor, get a prescription, and make sure to properly care for them.

It's all fun and games until you hurt yourself, or worse, ruin your eyesight. By following our eight tips, you’re well on your way to a successful cosplay, theatrical play or a fun night out with friends.

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