Someone wearing a colored contact lens.

How to Properly Wear Colored Contact Lenses

Changing your appearance can be fun and easy using colored contact lenses. Colored contacts give us the ability to make a subtle or dramatic difference to how we look without making any permanent decisions. You can use these lenses every day or for occasions where you want to make a statement.

What are Colored Contact Lenses?

Unlike normal contact lenses, colored contact lenses can change or enhance your eye color and they come in prescription and non-prescription varieties. Most colored lenses are designed to imitate the natural look of the iris (the colored part of the eye). The centre of the lens remains clear to enable you to see—otherwise your vision would appear through a colored filter. For a price, some companies will create custom tints and effects for aesthetic purposes. Some of these custom colors can provide a benefit, especially for those who live an active lifestyle or play sports. Custom lenses can reduce glare, increase contrast and improve depth perception. Other types of colored lenses can reduce the glare from the sun and increase the light in shadows.

Four Main Types of Colored Contact Lenses

Visibility Tint

They have a faint tint of either light blue or light green that makes them easy to see - which is handy for putting them in or taking them out. You see quite clearly through this type of lens, but you will not see much, if any, difference in your eye color when you are wearing them.

Enhancement Tint

These lenses offer more of a subtle change to the color of your irises. This tint gives your natural eye color a boost, making your eyes pop a bit more than usual. This type of lens is great for those with light colored eyes by either providing more color or accenting the ring around the iris to make your eyes stand out. The color of the lens is solid, but the enhancement tint is a little darker than the visibility tint.

Opaque Tint and Colored Lens

The opaque tint lenses completely change your eye color to pretty much whichever color you desire. This type of lens works for light or dark eyes and creates a dramatic change. These contact lenses have a non-transparent tint that changes your eye color entirely, which means you can go from light eyes to dark and vice versa.

Theatrical Lens

Theatrical lenses are a subcategory of opaque tint lenses. These not only change the color of your eye but can add interesting effects as well—such as white irises, all black, or cat eyes, which are great for costumes. These are also referred to as fashion, cosmetic, or decorative lenses. Costume lenses are almost never prescribed by eye care professionals.

Are Colored Contact Lenses Safe to Wear?

Overall, colored lenses are safe if they are properly prescribed, used and cared for. Be sure to get an eye exam so a professional can prescribe contacts which fit properly and come from a reputable source in order to protect your eye health. Colored lenses are safe when you have a current prescription from an optometrist and you buy them from a reputable company. The most important part of eye safety is to follow your optometrist’s instructions about how long to wear them, how to clean them and when to replace your lenses.

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Do You Need a Prescription for Colored Contacts?

Don’t mess around with the health and safety of your eyes. Proper lens care is important and necessary; follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the advice of your optometrist to make sure it is safe to wear colored contacts. A prescription is recommended because reputable providers will ask for a prescription. You may not need the prescription for vision correction, but you will need it to ensure you buy contacts that fit properly. Contacts fall into the medical devices category, which means that you should get a prescription before putting contacts in your eyes. There are companies that sell plano colored contacts, which have no vision correction and are sold purely for cosmetic purposes. Some stores sell lenses that are “one size fits all”, but this is not true since eyes vary from person to person. Even fashion lenses should fit properly, so make sure you get a prescription.

Good Brands to Buy

Reputable companies only sell approved lenses. Do not buy from companies just because the price is right. If you do not use a reputable company, your contacts could be the wrong size and non-sterile, which may lead to a host of eye problems including corneal abrasions, infections and vision loss. Everyone’s eyes are different, so the best brand of lens for you may not be the best brand for those in your inner circle. Depending on whether you are looking for a boost to your natural color or change your eye colour completely, some good brands are:

  • Air Optix Colors
  • Colorblends
  • Expressions Colors
  • Splash
  • Bausch & Lomb Natural Colors
  • Define Contacts
  • Dailies Colors

Protect Your Eye Health

Whether you need the colored contact lenses for prescription or wear them because they look good, make sure you care for lenses properly. Follow the instructions on the lenses which will help you wear, clean and store your contacts to ensure your eyes stay healthy. With some lenses you can wear them once and that is it; other times, you are able to store your contacts in solution and wear them multiple times. Stick to the manufacturer’s replacement schedule as overuse or over wearing them can damage your eyes. There are some colored contacts that do not allow as much oxygen to the cornea, so do not sleep in colored contacts.

Have fun playing around with different eye colors. Change up your look, make your peepers pop and have a great time flaunting your fashionable eye color.