Sometimes, your contact lenses may take on a different shade than normal. This color shift can be gradual, but it may happen suddenly. Color changes in contact lenses are typically caused by using a variety of medications. Hydrogel lenses, or soft contact lenses, are the most likely to change color. If your contact lenses are changing color, it can be a frightening experience. Knowing what may be changing your contacts is the first step toward stopping your lenses from becoming discolored.
Pink Tinged Lenses
If your contact lenses are starting to turn pink, you may have laxatives to thank. The active ingredient in many laxatives is phenolphthalein, which is the ingredient responsible for turning your lenses pink. If your lenses are becoming pink, you could switch to a laxative that doesn't have phenolphthalein as the active ingredient.
Pink colored lenses may also be caused by using brown-bottle peroxide to clean your lenses. Not all forms of peroxide have safe results when cleaning your contacts, so be sure you only use products formulated specifically for your type of contacts.
If your contact lenses are turning orange, you may be in treatment for a urinary tract infection. Phenazopyridine and nitrofurantoin are both common ingredients in medications for urinary tract infections. Not only could these medications stain your lenses, but they can also stain your tears and other bodily fluids. You could also encounter orange contacts if you're taking rifampin. Rifampin is used to treat tuberculosis.
Gray Or Brown Lenses
Having your lenses turn gray or brown is one of the most common forms of contact discoloration. This is because tetracycline frequently leads to lens discoloration. Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, so it's frequently prescribed for infections.
If you're a smoker you may also experience gray or brown tinged lenses. Nicotine can actually coat the lenses if you smoke frequently, or spend a lot of time in smoke-filled environments.
Tips For Avoiding Discoloration
Once contact lens discoloration occurs in soft lenses it's usually permanent. So the best way to treat it, is to avoid the discoloration in the first place.
To avoid contact lens discoloration, you should always read the information your pharmacy gives you with every prescription. Usually, if a medication could lead to contact lens discoloration it will be disclosed in the documents given to you with your prescription. If a prescription will discolor your lenses, call your eye doctor and ask if a different prescription is available.
If you have to use a product that discolors your lenses, you may want to switch to disposable contact lenses, or glasses, for the duration of your treatment.
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