Why do my contact lenses turn brown?

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
Hello everyone
I have soft toric Annual contact lenses and there are times where I don't wear my contact lenses for a while. I have eyeglasses that I wear everyday. But for some reason they are turning brown. This has happened to me twice with the same eye doctor. During my eye exam, I mentioned it to him and he stated that he had another consumer with the same problem. The first time that this happened to me was about three months of getting the new contact lenses. So I'm worried about buying another pair of contact lenses from him again and having no them turn brown on Me again. I was using the opti free contact Lenes solution. Any tips or suggestions? Thank you
 

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laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
1,917
850
Minnesota USA
I got Lasik surgery years ago (best money Ive ever spent, BTW) so I don't know the current tech of contact lenses but my best guess would be protein buildup. Are you doing enzyme treatments regularly?
 

laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
1,917
850
Minnesota USA
Also found this:

CONTACT LENS INTERACTION WITH PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS AND COSMETICS

Discolouration and some of the causes
Not all soft lens discolouration results from patient non-compliance. In some instances topical drugs could be absorbed while in other cases systemic medications in the tear film may give rise to the discolouration. Cosmetics and contact lens solution misuse can result in these changes too.

Yellowing or brown discolouration of contact lenses can be caused by sorbic acid or potassium sorbate. Switching from chemical to peroxide disinfection or smoking (nicotine) can cause this type of discolouration. Laxatives which contain phenolphthalein can result in yellowing and sulfasalazine prescribed for inflammatory bowel disease can cause brown discolouration. Diagnostic dyes like fluorescein will also cause yellow/brown staining.

Greyish Brown colour changes can occur due to use of topical epinephrine, phenylephrine, oral dopamine and tetracycline.

Greyness can result with the use of thimerosal-preserved solution in the presence of heat disinfection.

Orange contact lens discolouration may result due to use of oral nitrofurantoin or phenazopyridine for urinary tract infections, or rifampin for tuberculosis and meningococcal disease.

A Pink colour change can occur when a wearer switches from chemical to peroxide disinfection using pharmacy-grade (brown-bottle) peroxide instead of the appropriate peroxide designed for contact lenses. A pink colouring can occur with the use of laxatives containing phenolphtalein or resorcinol.

Green discolouration could result from prolonged use of systemic beta blockers. Chlorhexidine usage can cause a yellow-green discolouration. disinfection or from a chlorhexidine preserved solution to peroxide
 

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
I got Lasik surgery years ago (best money Ive ever spent, BTW) so I don't know the current tech of contact lenses but my best guess would be protein buildup. Are you doing enzyme treatments regularly?
No. I was having trouble locating some protein buildup removers. I'm going to have to check out that LASIK surgery thing
 
Last edited:

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
Also found this:

CONTACT LENS INTERACTION WITH PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS AND COSMETICS

Discolouration and some of the causes
Not all soft lens discolouration results from patient non-compliance. In some instances topical drugs could be absorbed while in other cases systemic medications in the tear film may give rise to the discolouration. Cosmetics and contact lens solution misuse can result in these changes too.

Yellowing or brown discolouration of contact lenses can be caused by sorbic acid or potassium sorbate. Switching from chemical to peroxide disinfection or smoking (nicotine) can cause this type of discolouration. Laxatives which contain phenolphthalein can result in yellowing and sulfasalazine prescribed for inflammatory bowel disease can cause brown discolouration. Diagnostic dyes like fluorescein will also cause yellow/brown staining.

Greyish Brown colour changes can occur due to use of topical epinephrine, phenylephrine, oral dopamine and tetracycline.

Greyness can result with the use of thimerosal-preserved solution in the presence of heat disinfection.

Orange contact lens discolouration may result due to use of oral nitrofurantoin or phenazopyridine for urinary tract infections, or rifampin for tuberculosis and meningococcal disease.

A Pink colour change can occur when a wearer switches from chemical to peroxide disinfection using pharmacy-grade (brown-bottle) peroxide instead of the appropriate peroxide designed for contact lenses. A pink colouring can occur with the use of laxatives containing phenolphtalein or resorcinol.

Green discolouration could result from prolonged use of systemic beta blockers. Chlorhexidine usage can cause a yellow-green discolouration. disinfection or from a chlorhexidine preserved solution to peroxide
Thank you
 

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
I got Lasik surgery years ago (best money Ive ever spent, BTW) so I don't know the current tech of contact lenses but my best guess would be protein buildup. Are you doing enzyme treatments regularly?
I called an eye center and they said that I need to change out my contact lenses case every three months.
 

laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
1,917
850
Minnesota USA
I called an eye center and they said that I need to change out my contact lenses case every three months.
That sounds pretty stupid, if you ask me. What would a plastic case have to do with it? I had the same case for years and didn't have your problem.

Yes, check out the Lasik surgery. It's awesome to not have to worry about contacts and glasses anymore. I was around 40 when I got mine so I got the mono vision to keep one eye a little nearsighted for when my eyes started to get that thing where people need bifocals. I'm 51 now and just started to notice my eyes changing a little so I have to hold out tiny type stuff a little further from my close reading eye (but still not way out like people without Lasik do, pretty much at a distance most people read from). I could probably use a touchup on my Lasik but everything is still generally great. I had 20/300 nearsightedness with astigmatism so my eyesight was really bad before. They can do even worse people now so there are very few people who wouldn't benefit from Lasik. I think most places offer a credit plan to help pay for it in payments over time.
 

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
That sounds pretty stupid, if you ask me. What would a plastic case have to do with it? I had the same case for years and didn't have your problem.

Yes, check out the Lasik surgery. It's awesome to not have to worry about contacts and glasses anymore. I was around 40 when I got mine so I got the mono vision to keep one eye a little nearsighted for when my eyes started to get that thing where people need bifocals. I'm 51 now and just started to notice my eyes changing a little so I have to hold out tiny type stuff a little further from my close reading eye (but still not way out like people without Lasik do, pretty much at a distance most people read from). I could probably use a touchup on my Lasik but everything is still generally great. I had 20/300 nearsightedness with astigmatism so my eyesight was really bad before. They can do even worse people now so there are very few people who wouldn't benefit from Lasik. I think most places offer a credit plan to help pay for it in payments over time.
You're right that changing of the case situation. Did the lasik surgery change your eye color and did it hurt your eyes? Thank you
 

A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
2,363
8,615
Boston
I called an eye center and they said that I need to change out my contact lenses case every three months.
That very well could be the case (pun intended). You might have some nasty bacteria camping out in there. How rapidly does this discoloration occur? I assume the lifespan on these contacts are 1 month?

Just some advice- don't wash your contact lens case with tap water, as it is full of... "life" (microorganisms). Rinse it instead with your eye solution. You should rinse and let dry on a regular basis. Bacteria from your eye will get into the case hitching a ride on the lens. My eye doctor told me to use isopropyl alcohol on the case every 2 weeks, or a quick boiling. Alcohol is a very effective sanitizer (I clean everything under the sun with those prep-pads), just make sure it evaporates and the case is dry before you put the contacts + solution back in. I can't imagine alcohol is healthy for the lenses.

I have had the worst luck with contacts. I can do 6 hours if I'm lucky before my eyes light on fire. I have tried many brands, but I have moderate astigmatisms and my eyes are just super sensitive. I use contacts for running or maybe formal events, but other than that it's the glasses or nearsighted vision (more like medium-sighted since I'm near sighted but reading is blurry due to the astig.s).

Lasik for me wouldn't be entirely effective because of my astigmatisms. In that case, it's not worth it.
 
Last edited:

laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
1,917
850
Minnesota USA
That very well could be the case (pun intended). You might have some nasty bacteria camping out in there. How rapidly does this discoloration occur? I assume the lifespan on these contacts are 1 month?

Just some advice- don't wash your contact lens case with tap water, as it is full of... "life" (microorganisms). Rinse it instead with your eye solution. You should rinse and let dry on a regular basis. Bacteria from your eye will get into the case hitching a ride on the lens. My eye doctor told me to use isopropyl alcohol on the case every 2 weeks, or a quick boiling. Alcohol is a very effective sanitizer (I clean everything under the sun with those prep-pads), just make sure it evaporates and the case is dry before you put the contacts + solution back in. I can't imagine alcohol is healthy for the lenses.

I have had the worst luck with contacts. I can do 6 hours if I'm lucky before my eyes light on fire. I have tried many brands, but I have moderate astigmatisms and my eyes are just super sensitive. I use contacts for running or maybe formal events, but other than that it's the glasses or nearsighted vision (more like medium-sighted since I'm near sighted but reading is blurry due to the astig.s).

Lasik for me wouldn't be entirely effective because of my astigmatisms. In that case, it's not worth it.
Are you sure Lasik wouldn't work for you? I had astigmatism and wore toric lenses before the surgery. I had trouble with torics because I'm told I have dry eyes and the torics had trouble adjusting themselves with the weighted part down. You should get the free evaluation exam to be sure if you are at all interested. The only small negative I've experienced is while driving at night the bright lights have some halo rays coming out. But when I wear the night driving glasses they gave me most of that goes away and I'm fine driving at night.

OP: No, they don't change your eye color and it doesn't hurt at all. They gave me some valium to help me relax and then put numbing drops in my eyes. The lasers did their job in a couple minutes and my dad drove me home. I had to wear the goggles so I wouldn't rub my eyes while I slept after I got home but the next morning, I took the goggles off and went on with my life without glasses or contacts. There might have been some eyedrops to put in for a few days but all in all, every easy.
 

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
Are you sure Lasik wouldn't work for you? I had astigmatism and wore toric lenses before the surgery. I had trouble with torics because I'm told I have dry eyes and the torics had trouble adjusting themselves with the weighted part down. You should get the free evaluation exam to be sure if you are at all interested. The only small negative I've experienced is while driving at night the bright lights have some halo rays coming out. But when I wear the night driving glasses they gave me most of that goes away and I'm fine driving at night.

OP: No, they don't change your eye color and it doesn't hurt at all. They gave me some valium to help me relax and then put numbing drops in my eyes. The lasers did their job in a couple minutes and my dad drove me home. I had to wear the goggles so I wouldn't rub my eyes while I slept after I got home but the next morning, I took the goggles off and went on with my life without glasses or contacts. There might have been some eyedrops to put in for a few days but all in all, every easy.
Thank you!! I think I'm too scared of the lasers being used on my eyes.
 

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
That very well could be the case (pun intended). You might have some nasty bacteria camping out in there. How rapidly does this discoloration occur? I assume the lifespan on these contacts are 1 month?

Just some advice- don't wash your contact lens case with tap water, as it is full of... "life" (microorganisms). Rinse it instead with your eye solution. You should rinse and let dry on a regular basis. Bacteria from your eye will get into the case hitching a ride on the lens. My eye doctor told me to use isopropyl alcohol on the case every 2 weeks, or a quick boiling. Alcohol is a very effective sanitizer (I clean everything under the sun with those prep-pads), just make sure it evaporates and the case is dry before you put the contacts + solution back in. I can't imagine alcohol is healthy for the lenses.

I have had the worst luck with contacts. I can do 6 hours if I'm lucky before my eyes light on fire. I have tried many brands, but I have moderate astigmatisms and my eyes are just super sensitive. I use contacts for running or maybe formal events, but other than that it's the glasses or nearsighted vision (more like medium-sighted since I'm near sighted but reading is blurry due to the astig.s).

Lasik for me wouldn't be entirely effective because of my astigmatisms. In that case, it's not worth it.
I've always had the yearly soft toric contact lenses. I've never had the disposable contact lenses. The first time that it happened it was in three months of getting these contact lenses. The second pair turned brown in about 8 or 9 months later.

My doctor also recommended that I change out the contact solution at least every two weeks when I'm not wearing them. I usually wear them after work for a few hours.

I'll try washing out the contact lenses case with the contact solution as your suggested, not water.

I'll order my contact lenses this coming Monday. Thanks for your help.

Plus I will be using Clear Care also to remove the protein buildup also.
 
Last edited:

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,155
1,333
Always a day away
Many years ago I used heat to disinfect my contacts, and they would gradually turn an ochre color. I switched back to chemical disinfectant and the problem went away.
 

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
Many years ago I used heat to disinfect my contacts, and they would gradually turn an ochre color. I switched back to chemical disinfectant and the problem went away.
What chemical disinfectant did you use? Thank you
 
Last edited:

determined09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 9, 2009
1,448
310
My doctor also recommended that I change out the contact solution at least every two weeks when I'm not wearing them. I usually wear them after work for a few hours.
Thanks. I think that you are right about this one. Unfortunately, I didn't change the contact solution when I wasn't using them on the regular basis.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
22,058
8,455
CT
My doctor said Lasik should only be done when you get older and it really isn't good for astigmatism. Your vision will continue to degrade after the surgery and they don't want to risk it again later in life. It's like a snapshot of your lens. Just like glasses your eyes will still readjust. So if your prescription changes every year your eyes will continue to change.
 
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Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
14,809
1,885
Australia, Perth
I switched to contacts few years ago, but then just wore glasses when needed (watching TV or driving) mainly because i'd be spending $47 or so for 6 contacts every 3 months....

Add to the fact by now. I did i need another eye test, and probably too lazy :) I'd be wasting money.

I thought contact lenses that had special solution u put them in when not in use to avoid exactly this issue.

I was using the Acuvue ones.
 

Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
5,536
2,368
Shropshire, UK
Personally, I'd never consider laser surgery and would much rather wear contact lenses (as I have for the last 20 years).

Apart from the fairly common issue of halos at night, your eyes start to "age" after the age of 40 with close vision becoming progressively worse (presbyopia), which is something that will happen even after laser surgery so you're likely to need reading glasses (or more surgery as one clinic claims to be able to treat it)

I use daily disposable contact lenses so have no issues with having to clean them, etc and mine include correction for presbyopia as well as my short sightedness (I am at the age where my near vision is going :)) and my sight is perfect with them in
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,645
33,454
Boston
Personally, I'd never consider laser surgery and would much rather wear contact lenses (as I have for the last 20 years).
Same here, I've known a number of people who had complications, which is scary when its your sight, and also as noted your eye do change later in life. I know someone who had it, but a few years later she was back to wearing glasses.
 
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