Colored contact lenses allow you to change your eye color and create a look that's subtle, bold or anywhere in between.
Color contacts are available in both prescription and Plano (non-prescription) forms:
Prescription color contacts correct your myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism, as well as enhancing or completely changing your eye color.
Plano color contacts are worn purely for cosmetic purposes to change your eye color and have no lens power for vision correction.
Types of Color Contacts
Most colored contact lenses are designed to mimic the natural look of the colored part of the eye, called the iris. Since this area is made up of colorful shapes and lines, some color contacts feature a series of tiny colored dots and colored lines and shapes to help the lenses look more natural on the eye.
The center of the lens, the part that lies over your pupil, is clear so you can see.
Color contacts come in three kinds of tints:
· Visibility tint. This usually is a light blue or green tint added to a lens, just to help you see it better during insertion and removal, or if you drop it. Visibility tints are relatively faint and do not affect your eye color.
· Enhancement tint. This is a solid but translucent (see-through) tint that is a little darker than a visibility tint. As the name implies, an enhancement tint is meant to enhance the natural color of your eyes. Colored contacts with this type of tint usually are best for people who have light-colored eyes and want to make their eye color more intense.
· Opaque tint. This is a non-transparent tint that can change your eye color completely. If you have dark eyes, you'll need this type of color contact lens to change your eye color.
Color contacts with opaque tints come in a wide variety of colors, including hazel, green, blue, violet, amethyst, brown and gray.
Costume or theatrical contact lenses also fall into the category of opaque color tints. Long used in the movies (examples are The Man Who Fell to Earth, Avatar and the Twilight series), these special-effect contact lenses are now widely available for novelty use.
Choosing the Right Color
The contact lens color that will suit you best depends on numerous factors, such as your hair color and skin tone. But, ultimately, it depends on the kind of look you want to achieve — subtle and natural-looking or dramatic and daring.
Color contacts for light eyes. If you want to change your appearance but in a more subtle way, you may want to choose an enhancement tint that defines the edges of your iris and deepens your natural color.
And if you want to experiment with a different eye color while still looking natural, you might choose contact lenses in gray or green, for example, if your natural eye color is blue.
Custom Tinted Contact Lenses
If you're after a truly individualized look, some contact lens manufacturers specialize in creating custom color tints for both prescription and non-prescription contact lenses.
Custom-made tints are created from a variety of colors in varying densities. Customized color lenses typically are semi-translucent, creating a natural-looking appearance. They can even camouflage a congenital eye defect or eye injury, or mimic the appearance of a healthy pupil.
Custom-tinted contacts aren't just for cosmetic reasons. Color tints are increasingly popular among professional athletes to increase their visual performance.
Key benefits of "sport tint" contact lenses are reduced glare, enhanced contrast sensitivity and heightened depth perception. A green tint, for example, can enable a tennis player to see the ball more clearly on the court.
Are Color Contact Lenses Safe?
Yes, colored contact lenses are safe — as long as your contacts are properly prescribed, used and cared for. It's essential that you visit your eye care professional for a proper contact lens fitting. This will ensure your colored contacts are safe and comfortable and look natural on your eye.
Just like regular contact lenses, color contacts are not bad for your eyes if you follow your eye care practitioner's instructions, particularly regarding how long you can wear your contacts and when you should replace your contacts.
If you wear colored contacts only on special occasions, daily disposables are a great option.