“Blue with a dot on the right.” This is the standard GP lens order that is recited over and over by laboratory consultants and customer service representatives across the county every day. However, some patients may benefit from different color and lens identification options, and there are plenty from which to choose.
When You’re Tired of Being Blue
The following scenarios represent a few examples of when practitioners may want to consider a more unique color for their patients’ GP lenses.
Lens Identification Though it’s not difficult to re-dot a GP lens with a fine-tipped permanent marker, patients may prefer to have lenses in different colors to avoid any confusion if the dot wears off or if it’s too difficult to see. This can be particularly useful with young orthokeratology patients (when the lenses are worn only overnight and the color choice has no cosmetic downside) or in elderly patients who have poor visual acuity or who might be confused when trying to discern a dot from a spec of dirt or debris. Right lenses are generally made in colors that have the letter “R” in their name, such as green, brown, or gray; similarly, left lenses are generally made blue or yellow.
Light-Colored Eyes While GP lenses are usually too small in diameter to truly change eye color appearance effectively, some patients who have light-colored eyes do notice a hint of extra “pop” when they wear lenses in the right shade; or, on the other hand, they may notice a strange or undesirable color shift in their eyes with the wrong shade. Being aware of potential problems (or beneficial enhancements) can help practitioners choose a color that would be most pleasing to each patient.
High Refractive Errors GP lenses that have considerable mass or center thickness, such as those in high plus powers, are more likely to show a deeper hue of the base color than would lenses of low power.
Translating GP Bifocal Designs These designs often utilize increased mass and/or prism to keep the lens aligned with the lower lid margin. This results in a darker-appearing lens.
The difference in color for a translating GP progressive bifocal lens can be significant (Figure 1). This patient’s Rx is +3.50D sphere with a +1.75D add power in Acuity 18 (Acuity Polymers) material, and she reported receiving comments from her family on her odd eye appearance in the standard blue color. A switch to the much lighter ice blue solved the issue.
Photophobia Dark tints of various colors may be considered for photophobia or glare; though caution is advised, as lenses with dark tints can limit visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and stereopsis, particularly in dim lighting.
Color Deficiency A longstanding red-tinted lens is still available for enhancing color perception in patients who have color vision deficiencies, though it is available only in PMMA material. Practitioners must monitor patients for potential deleterious effects of this material, including corneal molding, hypoxia, and edema.
Not all lens materials are available in the same colors, and not all colors are available with a UV absorber. It may be more important to consider Dk, material wettability, and design availability before color choices in some cases. However, a change in GP lens color ordering habits can be beneficial to many patients, and it doesn’t hurt to ask your patients and your lab consultants about the available options. CLS