From the first introduction on the cinematic screens for visual effects in 1950 to its mainstream use today for masking both natural iris pigment and ocular disfigurement, colored contact lenses are an important addition to your contact lens toolbox. Industry has made fitting this type of lens more appealing by offering improvements in color matching techniques and healthier materials compatible with commercially available inks and dyes. However, trend analysis reveals that as a category, colored or tinted contact lenses remain the least fitted type of soft contact lenses among eyecare providers over the last decade.1
While economic principles of supply and demand may lead us to believe that lack of consumer interest is the sole cause for low number of tinted lens fits in clinical practice, modern medicine suggests otherwise. Numerous techniques exist for patients who are interested in modifying their eye color. These patients will seek out alternative methods to accomplish this, often outside of their eye doctorâs offices.
Silicone iris implants, laser ablation of iris melanocytes, and even corneal tattooing have been introduced in different parts of the world to offer patients alternatives to change their eye color or improve cosmesis. Although there are many patients who would greatly benefit from safe and effective surgical options, there are others who get drawn in by the awe of what end up being sight-threatening procedures. Complications may include elevated eye pressure, intraocular inflammation, and corneal edema that often result in additional surgery to salvage ocular health of affected patients.
More contact lenses: Use manufacturer rebates to your benefit
As eyecare providers, it is our duty to have a working knowledge of products available that can improve a patientâs quality of life by altering his natural eye color or providing functional vision improvement. For those looking to simply alter the color of their eyes, cosmetic products are available. Alcon Air Optix Colors are monthly replacement silicone hydrogel lenses that can alter the color of a patientâs iris color. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care 1-Day Acuvue Define are a daily disposable lens that can enhance the natural eye color of a patient. These are two examples of soft contact lenses used primarily for cosmetic purposes.