Beauty and colour contact lenses, also known as cosmetic contact lenses, can give off great fashion statements.
It is quite common among Malaysians and it is getting more popular among the younger generation, influenced by artists and influencers.
Yet many are unaware that all contact lenses, including cosmetic contact lenses are classified as medical devices. Therefore, cosmetic lenses for both vision correction and non-vision correction require prescription before one can wear them.
Optometrist Suyidatina Sulaiman from Metro Optical Group (MOG) shared with The Health on the types of lenses available in the market and the right way to go about purchasing them.
Types of beauty and colour lenses
There are many types of contact lenses in the market and according to Suyidatina, cosmetic contact lenses can be broken into two categories – lens replacement schedule and lens material.
“First is the contact lens replacement schedule, which determines when the contact lens should be discarded after a certain period of wear.
“There are daily disposable and monthly disposable lenses. For daily disposable beauty or colour lens, you wear it for a day one day and toss it at the end of the day. That means you will wear new sterile lenses every day.”
“As for monthly disposable beauty or colour lens, you can wear it for one or three months and it requires proper lens care and cleaning every day, safe storage in contact lenses containers.
“Between daily and monthly colour lenses, daily disposable lenses are recommended because it’s more hygienic and easier to maintain. It also reduces the risk of having contact lens infection,” she explained.
The ACUVUE® Define® contact lens is an example of colour lens in the market and Suyidatina considers it one of the best daily disposable colour lenses.
“It also comes with beauty wrapped in comfort technology and UV protection.”
The second category is the lens material, where the colour lenses are either made up of hydrogel material or silicone hydrogel material.
“Hydrogel contact lenses are softer and have higher water content. Meanwhile, for silicone hydrogel lenses, the structure is more rigid, but it provides more oxygen to the eyes.
“Each material has its own benefits. So, it is best to refer to your eye care practitioner. They will suggest the best lens based on your eye condition and visual needs.”
Safety before beauty
“I always inform my customers not to get influenced by artists and influencers and never trade your eyes for the sake of beauty. Safety always comes first.”
For those with perfect vision and wish to wear contact lenses, Suyidatina advised: “I would highly recommend you visit an optical store and consult with the eye care practitioner before deciding to wear contact lenses because not everyone can wear them.
“And if its suitable for you to wear them, you must be ready to commit to the contact lens care routine to ensure maximum wearing comfort can be achieved and avoid any risk of getting complications such as infection or allergy.”
And for glass or spectacle wearers, she said if you choose to wear a combination of both, there are several ways to wear contact lenses and glasses together.
“For example, with an eye care practitioner consultation, you can wear zero power contact lens with power glasses/spectacles; power contact lens with zero power glasses/spectacles; or power contact lens with power glasses/spectacles,” she explained.
Wearing contact lens without professional guidance
Suyidatina shared an experience she had with a male college student who came into their optical shop and complained about eye pain and lack of vision.
She found that there were many scars on his cornea and his vision was bad. Later, he confessed that has worn contact lenses purchased online based on his friend’s recommendation. It was his first-time wearing contact lenses and it was done without professional examination and guidance.
“We immediately referred him to the hospital for further eye examination.”
Suyidatina stressed that contact lenses are safe to wear as long as the person has been examined and determined as a suitable wearer by professional eye care practitioners and has been taught the lens care guidelines.
Virtual mirror function
“The lenses should also be purchased from authorised eye care practitioner.”
Contact lenses can only be sold and fitted by an authorised eye care practitioner and strict regulation should be followed by a contact lens manufacturer to ensure consumer safety.
She added: “The Malaysian Optical Council (MOC) has stated that selling of contact lenses in social networks and e-commerce sites, night markets, beauty salons, convenience stores or any individual other than authorised eye care practitioner is totally prohibited.
“So, to buy safe beauty contact lens, you must visit an optical store and consult an authorised eye care practitioner, who is responsible to guide you on contact lens wear and care routine, to properly examine your eyes and also to ensure that you are supplied with a safe and authentic product.”
She explained that online purchasing of contact lenses are strictly for replenishing purposes and should only be from an authorised eye care practitioner online store.
“For first timers, you must consult with an eye care practitioner first and undergo the required eye examinations. And even for a long-time user, after care and regular checks are important to avoid the eyes from developing side effects of wearing contact lenses.”
At MOG, Suyidatina shared that they do not just sell contact lenses and glasses, but also provide a comprehensive preliminary eye examination.
“We are equipped with state-of-the art equipment for eye examination, and we are able to help monitor our customers’ eye health progress.”
As for beauty and colour lenses, she shared that the Johnson and Johnson Acuvue provides the virtual mirror technology which allows customers to try on lenses without physically putting them on.
“The virtual mirror function is a new technology, which is based on augmented reality (AR) technology. It allows consumers to try products on their accurate virtual model.
“Sometimes, the colour lens may be different when we try it because it depends on our natural eye colour. With a virtual mirror function, customers can check if the colour lens integrates well with their natural eye colour.”
She added that this feature is highly beneficial because it avoids the risk of getting eye infection and also convenient during the pandemic if customers don’t want to visit optical stores to try out the lenses. — The Health