Cosmetic (Plano and Colour) Contact Lenses

Cosmetic contact lenses, often referred to as “decorative,” “plano,” or “colour” contact lenses, are designed to change the appearance of the eye. These lenses might alter the colour of the iris, offer decorative patterns, or provide special effects, especially popular for occasions like Halloween. Plano refers to lenses that have no prescription power – they’re used solely for cosmetic reasons.

What it Involves:

  • Assessment of the Eye: Just like any other contact lens fitting, the optometrist will evaluate the health of the eyes, measure the surface to determine the correct lens size, and ensure there are no pre-existing conditions that may interfere with safe lens wear.
  • Discussion of Lens Options: There’s a wide variety of cosmetic contact lenses available. Depending on the user’s wishes, the optometrist will discuss the range of available colors and patterns.
  • Trial Fitting: Before finalizing the selection, a trial lens (or several) might be placed on the eye to evaluate the fit, comfort, and appearance. This helps ensure the selected lens is suitable for the individual’s eye and provides the desired aesthetic effect.
  • Instruction on Care and Maintenance: The user will be taught how to correctly insert, remove, and care for their cosmetic contact lenses, emphasizing the importance of proper hygiene.
  • Follow-up Visit: Especially if someone is new to contact lenses, the optometrist may schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure the lenses are being used safely and that there are no complications.
  • Why an Optometrist Should Assess and Complete the Form:
  • Safety First: Even if a contact lens is worn for cosmetic reasons, it’s still a medical device placed on the eye. An improper fit or poor lens hygiene can lead to complications such as infections, corneal scratches, or even vision-threatening conditions like ulcers.
  • Proper Fit: Every eye is different. Optometrists have the tools and expertise to measure the eye’s surface and recommend lenses that will fit correctly, ensuring comfort and reducing the risk of complications.
  • Regulated Products: Not all cosmetic contact lenses on the market are safe or of good quality. Optometrists can recommend or provide reputable brands that meet safety standards.
  • Educate on Risks: Especially for those new to contact lenses, it’s crucial to understand the risks involved and how to minimize them. This includes understanding the importance of not sharing lenses with others, not sleeping in lenses unless they’re designed for overnight wear, and more.
  • Follow-Up Care: An optometrist can monitor for complications over time. Regular eye exams can catch and address potential issues early.
  • Legal and Regulatory Reasons: In many places, selling contact lenses without a valid prescription, even plano cosmetic lenses, is illegal. An optometrist can provide the necessary documentation or prescription for obtaining the lenses.

In summary, while cosmetic contact lenses can be a fun way to change one’s appearance, they need to be approached with the same caution as any other contact lens. Optometrists play a crucial role in ensuring that these lenses provide the desired aesthetic effect without compromising the health of the eyes.

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