Colored contact lenses: Products, safety, and more

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ISLAMABAD (Online): Contact lenses are a popular and convenient way for many people to correct their vision. Several online manufacturers offer vision correcting and non-correcting contact lenses.
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A quick look at 5 of the best colored contact lenses
• Best for authentic appearances: 1-Day Acuvue Define
• Best for a range of colors: AIR OPTIX
• Best for virtual try-on: DAILIES COLORS
• Best for longer wear: FreshLook ColorBlends
• Best for those with astigmatism: TORIColors
Approximately 45 millionTrusted Source people in the United States wear contact lenses. Many people wear them to correct their vision, and others select colored contact lenses to change the appearance of their eyes.

This article discusses colored contact lenses, what types are available to purchase, how safe they are, and why eyewear is important for vision health.

What are colored contact lenses?
By law, all contact lenses, including colored ones, require a prescriptionTrusted Source, whether they correct vision or not.
Manufacturers may call colored contact lenses cosmetic, theatrical, Halloween, circle, decorative, or costume lenses.

Colored contact lenses may help correct a person’s vision or have a cosmetic purpose, changing the color of the eyes.
People may choose to purchase colored contact lenses with a natural look, opt for lenses with very bright, striking colors, or select lenses to suit different outfits and styles.

Learn more about buying contact lenses online here.
Prescription colored contact lenses
Once a person has a prescription, they can purchase colored contacts from reputable online eyewear companies. Reputable online eyewear companies only provide contact lenses with a valid prescription from a person’s eye doctor.

While it is possible to buy colored contact lenses from costume shops, beauty salons, drug stores, and other places that do not require a prescription, they are not legal and present a threat to eye health.

A 2019 study on teenagers in Texas who regularly wore colored contact lenses found that only 3.9%Trusted Source of respondents purchased their lenses from an eye doctor. Half of the respondents did not have a prescription for contact lenses.

The study participants reported the following complications of using colored contact lenses:

• eye pain and discomfort
• itchy and watery eyes
• red and swollen eyes
• difficulty seeing
• conjunctivitis or another eye infection
• light sensitivity
• vision loss
• corneal injury
• corneal ulcers
Types of colored contact lenses
There are several types of contact lenses, including:
• Transparent-tinted lenses: These uniform-colored lenses can change the color of the iris.

• Computer-generated opaque contacts: Opaque lenses cover up an individual’s natural eye color. They are available in a single color or blended colors that can mimic natural iris colors. They feature different patterns, colors, and pupil sizes on the lens surface.

• Hand-painted custom contacts: These lenses can closely match an individual’s natural eye color and help cover any injuries. These contact lenses tend to be more expensive to purchase.

Learn about eye colors around the world.

Who uses colored contact lenses?
A person may want colored contact lenses for several reasons, including changing their eye color to suit their personal style or match an outfit or costume.

Colored contact lenses also have medical uses. People who have eye injuries or scarsTrusted Source, such as a ruptured iris or an irregular pupil, may use colored contact lenses.
Some evidence shows that colored contact lenses can help people who have dyschromatopsia, or color blindness.

One case studyTrusted Source found that red contact lenses allowed the participant to better identify the color green on eye tests.

Learn about other ways to change eye color here.
Are they safe?

People should only purchase and wear colored contact lenses if they receive a prescription.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) states that using colored contact lenses without a prescription can cause permanent damage to the eyes.
Colored contacts sold without a prescription, such as costume contacts, can let less oxygen into the eye. The pigment that manufacturers use may be thicker than the pigment in prescription lenses, leading to thicker and less breathable contacts.

Individuals should also make an appointment with an eye doctor to make sure they use contact lenses that are the right size and type for their eyes.
Lenses that do not fit properly can cause:

• scratches to the cornea
• open sores on the surface of the eye
• eye infection
• blindness
Eye doctors can also educate people on how to look after their contact lenses.
People need to care for their colored contact lenses just as they would care for vision-correcting contacts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommend:

• only using contact lens disinfecting solution to clean and store contact lenses
• cleaning and storing contact lenses in fresh solution once a week
• never storing contacts in water or top-off old solution – always use new solution
• replacing the contact lens case at least every 3 months
• following an eye doctor’s recommendations regarding replacing contact lenses
Learn about homemade saline solution here.

How we chose
Medical News Today chooses colored contact lenses based on the following criteria where possible:

• Prescription: All companies require a valid prescription to order the lenses.

• Color choice: The contact lenses are available in a range of colors.
• Duration of wear: Companies will offer a range of contact lenses that are suitable for daily or monthly wear.