The availability and popularity of contact lenses has dramatically shaped eye care and vision correction globally. Contacts can also provide cosmetic changes through color contacts. Even if your vision doesn’t require contacts, you can still purchase colored lenses to create, change, and enhance your look. Color contacts are available as plano color contacts – those worn purely for cosmetic reasons, without any lens power for vision correction – or as prescription color contacts, which correct vision and changes eye color.
Colored Contact Designs
Most colored contact lenses are designed to look like a natural eye color. They do this by mimicking the patterns found in the colored part of the eye, called the iris. The iris is made up of many colorful shapes, lines and dots, and many colored contacts strive to imitate these patterns by utilizing a series of dots or lines to achieve a natural appearance. These lenses are clear in the center, where your pupil is, to allow for unimpaired vision.
Types of Color Contacts
Colored contacts come in four major categories:
Visibility tints are simply contacts that are tinted a light color to allow them to be more easily seen when you’re handling them. Usually a light blue or green, this tinting just helps you see the lens and does not change your eye color.
Enhancement tints provide a darker tint than visibility tints and serve to deepen lighter-colored eyes. This tinting is still translucent, and, as the name suggests, enhances the natural color of your eyes, creating more shades and a bolder color. They have little effect if your eyes are already of a darker color.
Opaque tints are a solid tint that completely covers your original eye color. These tints can create dramatic new looks, and are the tints needed if your natural eye color is dark. These lenses often come in many different colors, including hazel, green, blue, purple, brown, and gray.
Special Effects tints are just as they sound and are often used for film, Halloween, or costume events. These tints provide special effects or appearances. Now you can have the eyes of an alien, vampire or cat, and many more!
Choosing the Right Contact Lens
Many different factors can affect selecting the best lens for you. Hair color and skin tone, as well as desired effect and appearance, all play a role. With the wide range of contacts available, you can create a look that is bold and dramatic, or subtle and natural.
If you have light colored eyes, enhancement tints that more clearly define your iris and deepens your natural colors could be a strong choice for a more natural look. You can also choose a more dramatic shift in color. If you have a warm soft brown color to start, a shift into a cool color can give you a bold contrast and look.
If you have dark eyes, opaque colored lenses give you a wide range of options. A more natural and subtle lighter brown or hazel can create a gentle change, or more vibrant colors like blue, green or even purple can give you a bold, memorable look. If you have darker skin, a bright-colored lens would certainly demand attention!
Do Colored Contacts Effect Your Vision?
It is important to note that while color lenses fit just like regular contacts, there may be times (such as when blinking) when the lens may shift on the eyes and the colored part would slide partially over your pupil. This, especially in opaque tinted lenses, would create a temporary unnatural appearance. Also, remember that the size of your pupil changes depending on the amount of light in your environment. At night or in dark environments, it is possible for your pupils to dilate to larger than the clear center of the contact lens, which would then affect your vision slightly.
That said, colored contact lenses are safe and are almost identical to regular contact lenses. Remember: all contacts are considered medical devices by the FDA. It is important to get a contact fitting from your eye care professional before purchasing lenses. This will help guarantee that your lenses will fit comfortably and are safe. Beyond that, make sure to follow the guidelines given to you about proper care and duration of wear before recommended disposal.
Remember, you need a contact lens prescription for any type of colored lenses – even plano color contacts! If you see colored contacts sold in a costume store or gas station, that vendor is breaking the law. Make sure you’re buying from legitimate vendors and legal sources, and take your eye health seriously. Never share colored contacts, remember to clean and disinfect according to your instructions, and not to wear if your eyes become sore or irritated for any reason.
Beyond that, enjoy your new colored contacts and have fun with your new appearance!