Color Contact Lenses For Astigmatism – They Do Exist!

posted in: Contacts Advice, Reviews | 27

The Problem

FreshLook ColorBlends Toric1In 2014, the popular brand of color contact lenses for astigmatism, FreshLook Color Toric/FreshLook ColorBlends Toric was discontinued by Alcon due to low demand.

This left the North American market with very little options for people who need contact lenses for astigmatism (aka toric contact lenses), and who also want to change the color of their eyes.

Since the discontinuation of FreshLook Color Toric, some people have been lucky enough to get color contact lenses for astigmatism through their optometrists who have accounts with custom contact lens manufacturers, but for the majority of people, they were just plain out of luck.




Contacts Advice Medical Disclaimer

Taking The Spherical Equivalent is One Solution…

To get around the problem, many people have been asking their eye doctors to ignore the astigmatism component of their prescription, and to make up for it by modifying the ‘Spherical’ power. This is called taking the ‘Equivalent Sphere‘ of a prescription, and for those who have very low astigmatism, doing this kind of trick is actually works out very well.

The amount of astigmatism in your prescription is represented by the ‘Cylinder’ number. If you’re Cylinder is -1.00 or less, your eye doctor could approve you for color contact lenses using the Equivalent Sphere, but keep in mind that your vision may be slightly reduced.

To find out more about what about what it means to use the equivalent sphere of your prescription, read this article: The Spherical Equivalent of Your Prescription

But what about all those people with mid-level to high amounts of astigmatism? Taking the Spherical Equivalent is not an option because the vision would be too drastically reduced. The good news is there is still hope.

Color Contact Lenses for Astigmatism Still Exist!

FreshLook Color Toric was the only toric color contact lens brand in North America, and since its disappearance, there has been no new alternatives. But if you look outside of North America, it’s a different story.

In this article, I will discuss 2 popular brands of color contact lenses for astigmatism sold internationally.

I have written reviews of a few other websites that sell color contacts for astigmatism.

They are:

**Always have an eye doctor examine the fit of contact lenses on your eyes before starting to use them.**




Solotica From ParanaLentes


ParanaLentesParanaLentes is an online retailer of contact lenses based in Brazil. They have been in operation since 2004 and have become pretty popular worldwide for selling  the Solotica brand of color contacts.

Solotica is a line of color contact lenses that has many different shades and variations.

They include :

  • Solotica HIDROCHARME
  • Solotica HIDROCOR
  • Solotica HIDROCOR Toric
  • Solotica NATURAL COLORS
  • Solotica NATURAL COLORS Toric

Of course, the 2 that are relevant to people with astigmatism are the Solotica Hidrocor Toric and the Solotica Natural Colors Toric.

Unfortunately, on the ParanaLentes website, they don’t list any lens information such as lens material, base curve, diameter, water content, center thickness, etc for the Solotica Hidrocor Toric and the Solotica Natural Colors Toric.

They do however, list this information for the non-toric version on these brands.

Solotica Hidrocor and Solotica Natural ColorsSolotica Natural Colors Vials

Type: Yearly disposable
Material: 62% Polymacon
Water Content: 38%
Diameter: 14.2mm
Base Cure: 8.7mm
Pack Size: Sold Individually

I suppose we can assume that the toric versions have similar parameters, although in virtually every contact lens brand sold in North America, the toric versions typically have different base curves and diameters compared to their non-toric counterparts.

It would be nice if their site specified the exact parameters of their toric lines. Since they don’t, that’s just all the more reason to make sure you have an optometrist look at these lenses on your eyes before you start wearing them regularly.

Additionally, what is not listed here is a lens parameter known as the Dk/t. This is a parameter which tells us how breathable the contact lenses are. For a contact lens that is to be worn all year round, knowing this number would be pretty important.




But what is really good about the Solotica Hidrocor Toric and the Solotica Natural Colors Toric is their amazing range of powers.

These lenses can made for virtually every single prescription in existence. The power ranges are:

Sphere: -20.00 to +10.00
Cylinder: -0.75 to -7.00
Axis: 1 to 180

The difference between the Solotica Hidrocor Toric and the Solotica Natural Colors Toric is simply the look of the color pattern.

Solotica Hidrocor Toric has more of a uniform color throughout the lens.

Solotica Hidrocor Toric Graphite
Graphite

Solotica Hidrocor Toric Blue
Blue

Solotica Hidrocor Toric Marine
Marine
Solotica Hidrocor Toric Honey
Honey
Solotica Hidrocor Toric Hazel
Hazel
Solotica Hidrocor Toric Green
Green

Solotica Natural Colors Toric has an outline around the outside and the inside of the iris to provide more contrast against the white and black of your eyes.

Solotica Natural Colors Toric Crystal
Crystal

Solotica Natural Colors Toric Graphite
Graphite
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Quartz
Quartz
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Blue
Blue
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Topaz
Topaz
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Marine
Marine
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Honey
Honey
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Hazel
Hazel
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Green
Green
Solotica Natural Colors Toric Emerald
Emerald

 

Price

The price at ParanaLentes for the brands Solotica Hidrocor Toric and Solotica Natural Colors Toric is very reasonable. For a pair, it will cost $285.66 USD. This works out to about $24/month, which is less than $1/day.

 




Desio


DesioDesio is an Italian based company that prides itself on the uniqueness of its color contact lens designs. Their lenses are designed for men, just as much as they are designed for women.

They currently have 3 lines of contacts:

  • Sensual Beauty Lenses
  • Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric
  • Two Shades of Grey

They give the basic lens parameters such as lens material, base curve, diameter and water content, but similar to the Solotica Lenses, they don’t indicate the Dk/t which is a measure of a lens’ breathability.

Sensual Beauty Lenses ToricDesio Sensual Beauty Lenses Boxes

Type: Quarterly Lens (3 months disposable)
Material: Polymacon
Water Content: 38%
Diameter: 14.5mm
Base Cure: 8.7mm
Pack Size: 2

It is interesting that both Solotica and Desio lenses seem to be made with the same material (polymacon), yet Solotica is a yearly disposable lens, and Desio is a quarterly (3 months) lens. This is most likely due to the differences in the health regulatory bodies in Brazil and Italy, but that’s just my guess.

Similar examples can be seen in Canada, US, and the UK. Some lenses are approved for overnight wear for up to 30 days in the US, but only up to 6 days in Canada. That is because every country has its own safety standards for contact lenses. Keep that in mind when ordering lenses from another country which are not approved for sale within your own country.

The range of available powers for the Desio lenses are pretty standard for most toric contact lenses.

Sphere: -10.00 to +3.00
Cylinder: -0.75 to -3.00
Axis: 10 to 180 (in steps of 10)

The Desio lenses boast a unique set of colors. The lens designs are inspired by the Earth and sea, and indeed have a very natural look to them.

Desio Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric Creamy Beige
Creamy Beige

Desio Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric Icy Blue
Icy Blue
Desio Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric Mint Touch
Mint Touch
Desio Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric Desert Dream
Desert Dream
Desio Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric Forest Green
Forest Green
Desio Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric Caramel Brown
Caramel Brown
Desio Sensual Beauty Lenses Toric Innocent White
Innocent White

 

As far as uniqueness and beauty of the designs, I award Desio top marks. The colors are very pleasing and interesting, yet they look completely natural.

The cost of Desio lenses € 80.00 (~$90.22 USD) for a pair, which adds up to ~$360.88 USD for a year supply.

My Thoughts

As I have alluded to earlier, there is a reason why these lenses are not sold on North America sites like 1800Contacts.com, ContactLensKing.com, etc, or through your eye doctor’s office. It is because they have not been approved for sale by the FDA or Health Canada.

Does this mean that they are unsafe? No, it doesn’t. The fact that they haven’t been approved, doesn’t mean that they have been investigated and deemed to be a health hazard. It just means that they haven’t been investigated. The FDA and Health Canada cannot possibly run clinical trials on every single brand of contact lenses produced worldwide, there are just too many and it would consume all of their time and resources.

Furthermore, it is a very costly and lengthy process for a company to obtain FDA approval for a product, so sometimes companies simply don’t bother with it.

As with any other brand of contact lenses for astigmatism, it is very important to be fitted for them before they can be worn regularly. Contact lenses for astigmatism need to fit your eyes rather precisely for the vision to be clear. If the lenses don’t position themselves correctly on your eyes, it won’t matter that you have the correct prescription, the vision just won’t be clear. The higher your astigmatism, the more important the fit of the lens is.

In general, I dislike the idea of yearly contacts such as the Solotica lenses. A year is a long time and if you accidentally lose or rip a contact lens, it means you’re out of luck. The more often you replace your lenses, the less it matters if you lose or break one.

Additionally, the longer you keep a lens, the more deposits eventually build-up on it, which makes it less and less comfortable as time goes on, as well as more and more irritating to your eyes.

And finally, when it comes to color contact lenses, lenses that are replaced more often allow you to change colors more often. For those who tend to get tired of a certain look fairly quickly, quarterly lenses such as Desio may be more suitable to your needs.

So as you can see, buying color contact lenses for astigmatism abroad may not be the best option, but when it’s your only option, it’s certainly something to consider. Bring it up to your eye doctor at your next appointment, and see what he/she thinks.

**Update**

Since writing this article, it seems that the FDA has actually approved Solotica lenses. Solotica brands Hidrocor, Hidrocharme and Natural Colors. You can see so for yourself here:

Solotica Contact Lenses FDA Approved

Again, this goes to show you that contact lenses that aren’t approved by the FDA are not necessarily dangerous. It just means that the FDA hasn’t had a chance to approve/disapprove them yet. For the longest time Solotica lenses were not approved by the FDA, but now they are. It’s not because they use to be dangerous, but now they’re safe. The lenses themselves haven’t changed, the only thing changed is that the FDA decided to take the time (and their fees) to test them.

However, despite the fact that they are deemed safe for use by the FDA, you should still have them fitted by an optometrist to make sure they’re appropriate for you.




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27 Responses

  1. Yvette Webb-Sosa
    | Reply

    Finding information on contacts since Freshlooks was discontinued has been a headache, especially when you can no longer find color contacts that meet your prescription. And then you have to go hunting for deals. I have ordered from two different places on the websites that do not meet my needs. When I received my contacts they didn’t fit the right way and my prescription was wrong. It was a waste of money and time. It was a disappointment.

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Hi Yvette, that’s terrible! Do you mind sharing where you ordered from so that others don’t have the same experience as you?

  2. Yvette Webb-Sosa
    | Reply

    Yes, one was from a Company called Queens Contacts and the other from Costal Contacts. Both of them did not meet my needs. And I am out of $1350.00 due to the shipping of the overseas charges.

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Hi Yvette, thanks for sharing that information.

      I was previously unaware of Queens Contacts. They do in fact have a variety of contact lenses for astigmatism. They appear to be based out of Korea. Can you share more precisely what the problem with the lenses was?

      Also, the last time I looked, Coastal didn’t have any brands for color contacts for astigmatism. Do you remember what brand you got from them?

      • imola
        | Reply

        I also tried soleko queens solitair color toric lenses and it was a disappoitment ….i tried the pearl color … the central area wasnt covered enough, the lenses were very thick, and after 8 hours my eyes were in pain, the feeling was very far away from the comfort given by my softlens toric from Bausch&Lomb

  3. Justin
    | Reply

    How do I order the agstistmatism for color contacts? I don’t see the cylinder anywhere?

  4. Lily
    | Reply

    hi I believe the fda approved Desio. I’m actually searching for toric colored contacts.

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Oh that’s interesting! Thanks for the update :)

    • Josh Mason
      | Reply

      Thanks for the update. I’m looking at Desio’s website now and they offer some great color torics.

      Does anyone have experience with ordering and wearing lenses from Desio?

  5. Jessica
    | Reply

    I’m used to taking lenses out every night. This is probably a stupid question, but:

    Does a yearly lens mean you can leave it in for a year? Or that you take it out every night, and can keep using it for a year?

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Hi Jessica! That’s a good question. The terminology can get really confusing. A yearly lens means a lens that should be taken out and cleaned every night, and you can use it for up to a year. There are very few lenses that are designed for you to sleep with. They are called ‘extended wear’ or ‘continuous wear’ lenses. Hope that helps :)

      DISCLAIMER

      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

      • Jessica
        | Reply

        That is helpful. (It would also be helpful if they changed the terminology! ;-) )

  6. OPtometrist
    | Reply

    I am an optometrist and would advise any and ALL people to not take your eyes for granted. DO not just order contacts online without professional assistance. You are signing up for potential BLINDNESS and terrible eye infections. It IS NOT WORTH IT!

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Dr. Leung, thanks for your input! I completely agree with you. I think contact lenses need to be professionally fit before they are worn to ensure that they will provide clear vision and be safe for the eyes. This is especially true if people are interested in wearing contact lenses from lesser known places such as Parana Lentes, Desio, PinkyParadise, etc. I’m very curious, what brand(s) do you offer your patients who are interested in color contact lenses for astigmatism?

  7. Julie
    | Reply

    Hi Taehee, that’s a great question!

    The answer is: not necessarily.

    Based on my experience, the numbers between brands are usually the same, but it would not be uncommon for one brand to require slightly different parameters than another. Typically, it is the axis number that is the most variable, as it is determined by how the contact lenses sit on your eyes, and different brands may sit differently on your eyes.

    Additionally, most toric contact lenses have a set base curve. That means that if the two brands in question have a different base curve, you will have no choice but to change the parameters. The same goes with the lens diameter. Both these parameters affect the fit of the lenses.

    Hope this helped :D

    This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  8. Anil R
    | Reply

    Julie thank you for this article it is amazing and well researched and written clearly. I check in on it once a month for updates. Do you know if there is anything on the market new since your last post?

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Hi Anil, thanks for checking in so often! Unfortunately, there still isn’t anything on the horizon from Alcon or any of the other major manufacturers :(
      I’ve written about 4 websites that do sell color contact lenses for astigmatism from overseas. They are:

      There are probably more, but all will be from overseas somewhere.

      If you decide to get lenses from any of these places, make sure you bring them to your optometrist for an evaluation before you start wearing them.

      If I hear of anything new, I’ll be sure to write an article about it, so keep checking in :)

      DISCLAIMER

      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  9. Julie
    | Reply

    Hi Aubrey, what website are you ordering from? Do they not allow you to order a different power for each eye? If so it would probably be better for your vision and visual comfort to order the exact numbers on your contact lens prescription. Sometimes if there is only a very slight difference between the two eyes, people will ask their optometrist to prescribe the same power in both eyes so that they don’t have to bother with which one is for the right eye, and which one is for the left eye. But this has to be okayed and prescribed by your optometrist.

    I only recommend buying contact lenses online with a valid contact lens prescription.

    Just how different is the prescription between your two eyes?

  10. Wendy
    | Reply

    It seems crazy to me that FreshLook Toric discontinued due to “low demand” when all over the place people are looking for color contacts that accommodate their astigmatism.

    The optometrist is forever telling me that astigmatism is very common. Changing eye color is a fun way to change your look. Glasses come in a bazillion shapes, sizes, and colors.

    If Fresh Look can’t/won’t accommodate, surely some other major brand could. The idea of paying $1000 for colored contacts (even if they are supposed to last a year) is ludicrous. We’re not all Kardashian’s.

    Is anyone in marketing at Bausch and Lomb listening out there???

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Wendy, I 100% agree!

      I wish I had kept the original memo CibaVision (now Alcon) sent out when they announced that Freshlook Colorblends Toric was going to be discontinued. I couldn’t believe it. Since then, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across who have been left without any options for color contact lenses for astigmatism.

      Speculating here, but I know that contact lens manufacturing centers have limited manufacturing lines which they use to produce all of their brands. It might just be that they wanted to free up the space to manufacture more of their top selling brands. Who knows. Whatever it was, I’m sure that discontinuing the brand came down to a financial decision.

      From what I understand about free market economics, it’s that if there’s a way to make money from something, corporations will develop it. The 4 major contact lens companies (Alcon, CooperVision, Johnson & Johnson and Bausch + Lomb) are money making machines first and foremost. For some reason, there just doesn’t seem to be a way to make money from selling color contact lenses for astigmatism, and hence there aren’t any on the market (in North America in any case). That’s how I read the situation anyway…

      Hopefully, we will have more options soon!

  11. Tim
    | Reply

    Has anyone ordered from this website for Toric Colored Contact Lenses? Says they offer BioColors Toric Colored Lenses and CONCISE Colors Toric, but if I’m correct it is the same company? Is this legit? Skeptical in placing an order. Any help or info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    http://www.eyecareuniverse.com/biocolors-toric

    http://www.eyecareuniverse.com/concise-colors-toric

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Hi Tim. These lenses are from a company called Orion Vision group and you are correct that both the lenses in the links you provided are from the same company.

      I have heard of BioColors Toric before. I am not as familiar with CONCISE Colors Toric, but from reading the product description, it seems to be much more customized, and they are even recommended as a replacement for the popular discontinued brand FreshLook Colorblends Toric.

      I have no doubt that these lenses could work for the right person, but I personally would not order these lenses without first being fitted with them by an eye doctor. Bypassing this trial process would almost guarantee that you’ll be ordering a very expensive lens that you may not be able to wear.

      And unfortunately, there are many obstacles to getting a fitting for these lenses. First of all, not all eye doctors who fit contact lenses have accounts with Orion Vision Group as their products target a very small niche market. And secondly, due to their complicated nature, you’ll probably be charged quite a hefty contact lens fitting fee from your eye doctor.

      If anyone else has ordered these lenses, please share your experience with us :)

      DISCLAIMER

      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  12. Rachel Tussey
    | Reply

    I have searched everywhere and can not find color contacts Anywhere. This is so frustrating
    .
    I have called everywhere us based and just can’t find them. Any us places that your aware of?

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Hi Rachel, I completely understand your frustration. And believe me, you are not the only one affected by this problem.

      Color contact lenses are actually sold pretty much everywhere (online and offline). It’s the color contact lenses for astigmatism (or toric contact lenses) that are not available anywhere.

      Right now there are no contact lens manufacturers making/selling this kind of contact lens in the US.

      Contact lenses made and sold in other countries do not have the same controls and safety requirements that the US does, so it’s a little more of a risk. Additionally, it’s very difficult to obtain any trials since eye doctors in the US do not typically carry these lenses.

      I would suggest speaking with your eye doctor about the lenses I mentioned in this article. He/she may have experience with them and tell you if they will be appropriate for your eyes.

      If you decide to start wearing any contact lenses, make sure you get your eye doctor to evaluate them on your eyes before you start using them.

      DISCLAIMER

      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  13. Kyle
    | Reply

    I was wondering if anyone has heard of/ or ordered from eyecandys. My fiance wants to try some color contacts and that site says they have colored contacts for Astigmatism, but I didn’t see them mentioned in this article so I don’t know if they are trust worthy?

    • Julie
      | Reply

      Hello Kyle, I have heard about EyeCandys but I have to admit that I don’t know too much about them. I just did a quick scan of their color contact lenses for astigmatism and I’m not really impressed to be quite honest.

      It looks like their lenses are only available in 2 different axis, 180 and 90.

      Unfortunately, color contact lenses that are only available in 2 different axis are not going to be very useful to many people.

      Always consult your eye doctor before ordering and using contact lenses. Never purchase contact lenses without a valid contact lens prescription.

      DISCLAIMER

      This information is provided as an information resource only (i.e., this is not medical advice) and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  14. Julie
    | Reply

    That’s great! It’ll be nice to hear from someone who has tried them. Looking forward to hearing about your experience :)

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