Confidence in cosmetics

Imogen Taylor tells OT  about how a cosmetic lens service made “the world of difference” after she lost the sight in her right eye

Hand painted contact lens

I have been diabetic since the age of five and was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy at 20-years-old. I had intensive treatment to save my sight over two years.

I retained a tiny bit of sight in my left eye and lost the sight completely in the right eye.

For a few years the eye looked completely fine, but unfortunately the eye has become smaller over time. The iris and the pupil do not match the other eye, so I went down the route of looking for a contact lens that would smarten the eye up and look more ‘normal.’

My optometrist, Neil Cox, measured the pupil on my left eye then chose a pupil size that matched it to cover as much of a little white scar on the right eye as possible. I wanted to cover the scar, but if you cover it with a big black pupil I look a bit like David Bowie because one pupil is much bigger than the other. The scar looks like a white mark and the pupil manages to cover most of it, but there’s a little bit that is showing, which is fine.


Colour match

In my right eye, I now wear a lens that matches the colour of my left eye, which is green, and have the black pupil painted on by No7 Contact Lenses. It’s slightly greener than my other eye, but that doesn’t worry me. I am lucky to get such a good match. Maybe if I’d been a teenager I would’ve gone for a different style lens, but now I’m older I go for the best match to my other eye.

"They say that the eye is the first thing that you notice when you look at somebody. For me, I always worry that it doesn't look right"

The world of difference

Re-ordering is really easy but I have to remember to order before I run out. I phone up Neil and ask for an order of the cosmetic lenses. It can take up to five weeks as they come to him then go off to be painted. When I try them on, Neil checks them and he’ll ask how it feels. He then examines the fit and the front of the eye. I have the lens with a prescription, so it is slightly thickened. Although it’s a blind eye, the prescription makes the lens easier to manage. 

The lens makes a big difference and gives me more confidence. Since the eye has become smaller, the contact lens makes the world of difference. I’m aware they don’t match but it looks so much better with the lens in. It makes me feel more normal. It’s very comfortable and I’m not aware of it at all. I’ve never had any problems with it so from my point of view it’s very safe. 

They say that the eye is the first thing that you notice when you look at somebody. For me, I always worry that it doesn’t look right. When I want to put makeup on, that doesn’t cause a problem with the lens. I just have to make sure that I put the lens in first and then do my makeup. It gives me so much confidence. My right eye has so many problems with it, but this lens doesn’t exacerbate them and it doesn’t hurt or cause any infection. The eye has glaucoma and another eye condition, and yet I’m still able to safely wear this type of lens.