Colored Contact Lenses
While regular prescription contact lenses are worn to correct vision, eye problems and diseases, or to make athletic tasks easier and safer, colored contacts are worn for cosmetic enhancement that goes beyond simple vision correction.
Color Contact Lenses
Color contacts are worn by the general population, as well as by celebrities, and have been becoming more of a trend since their recent invention in 2004 by Acuvue, the first company to sell colored lenses to the public.
The US FDA requires all contact lens buyers, including those purchasing colored contacts, to have a prescription before they buy. This is for safety reasons due to the vulnerability of the eye are and the specific dimensions each lens needs to be worn safely by each unique wearer. However you can still be fitted for a colored contact lens even if you have perfect vision. These non-prescription lenses are called “plano lenses” and are the exact same as prescription colored lenses but without any vision correction.
There are two types of color contacts:
- Prescription Color Contacts:
Prescription color contacts change the eye’s color and near or far sightedness vision correction. None are currently available for astigmatism correction; Freshlook contacts used to have a colored option for astigmatisms but discontinued the line.
- Non-Prescription (ie Plano Color Contacts):
Plano non prescription colored contacts are offered by very major brand. These are exactly the same as any other pair of colored contacts but with zero vision correction. The lens’ sole purpose is to change the eye’s color. No vision correction is needed or desired in this case. The only benefit of these lenses is cosmetic enhancement.
The Different Color Contact Lens Types
Natural Color Enhancing
The most natural and least easily noticed are natural color enhancing lenses. These will slightly enhance one’s natural eye color, either darkening or lightening the natural iris, or by enhancing the eye’s natural limbal ring. Bausch & Lomb is the pioneer in this field regarding natural eye color and limbal ring enhancement as well as Freshlook light tint contacts.
Light Color Change
Light color change contacts are meant for those with light eyes who want to change their eye color but not so much it is overwhelming or too much at once. The light contacts will be slightly noticeable on those with light eyes but people with dark eyes would see no change in color wearing a light lens and need to wear either blended or complete color change contacts.
Blended Color Change
Freshlooks innovated the blended color change contact, which is meant to change one’s eye color boldly, but in a more natural way by blending three colors into one’s natural eye color. It allows for a more drastic change while still giving the appearance of a natural eye color.
Complete Color Change
Meant for people with darker eyes or those wishing for a more drastic change, complete color change lenses are completely opaque, solid lenses that cover all of one’s natural eye color. The natural iris completely disappears underneath a solid color of one’s choosing. Anyone, those with any shade of eye color, can wear complete color change lenses for a dramatic effect.
Halloween colored contacts are complete color change lenses that completely cover one’s natural eye color and replace it with any one of a multitude of dramatic choices. Crazy colors, crazy-enlarged pupils, red-eyes, white-eyes, patterned-eyes, zombie-eyes, vampire, and more are available to complete the perfect Halloween costume. One thing to be careful of is to make sure you are purchasing Halloween lenses from an FDA-approved site. Many sites sell non-prescription, non-FDA approved lenses each year which is both illegal and dangerous for your eyes.
Circle lenses are made with the intention of making your eyes look much larger than they actually are. They are very popular in certain Asian countries and go beyond a simple eye color change. Similar to Halloween contacts, many are sold without valid prescriptions which can be dangerous for your eye health.
With so many options, how should you choose?
Luckily this is not a test, and there is no right or wrong answer! You are allowed to experiment with as many colors and types as you want until you find one that you love as much as your favorite pair of jeans.
Just like your favorite pair of jeans, you probably have a few that are actually your favorite, it just depends on the occasion and who you are going with that allows you to choose which pair to wear, you will probably have a few different pairs of colored lenses that you wear with different people on different occasions.
Much like one brand of jeans fits you better than all the others, you will find some contact lens colors just look better on your skin tone and with your hair color. This may change, like your favorite brand of jeans, as you grow and change your taste and body-type.
I wish you luck in finding a color that fits your eyes as well as your favorite pair of jeans perfectly fits your butt.