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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.

Approximately 45 million 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.

By law, all contact lenses, including colored ones, require a prescription, 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.

Once a person has a prescription, they can purchase colored contacts from reputable online eyewear companies.

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% 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:

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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.

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 scars, 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 study 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.

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

The American Academy of Ophthalmology 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) 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

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Several companies offer colored contact lenses suitable for people who require vision-correcting lenses and those who want a cosmetic change.

Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.

1-Day Acuvue Define

These disposable contacts are available in different designs to create different, authentic looks.

1-Day Acuvue Define contacts are available for those who are near- and far-sighted. Individuals can purchase 30- and 90-day packs.

This product features exclusive moisture and comfort technology that enables people to wear the lenses comfortably all day. The contact lenses also offer a high level of UV protection.

1-Day Acuvue Define contacts are only available with a valid prescription.


These colored contact lenses are available in 12 colors, ranging from amethyst to turquoise.

The website has a “Play with Colors” feature that allows people to virtually try different colors.

Individuals can purchase correcting and non-correcting lenses through a prescription from a licensed eye doctor.

Individuals may need an eye exam before purchasing Air Optix contact lenses.


These disposable, colored contact lenses come in four colors, from mystic blue to mystic hazel. These lenses may make the eyes looks bigger and brighter.

People can virtually try on the different colors through the website’s eye color studio.

Lenses, or a free sample, are only available through a licensed eye doctor, who can provide the required prescription.

Individuals may need an eye exam before purchasing Dailies Colors.

FreshLook ColorBlends

A person can wear these colored contact lenses for up to 2 weeks. Individuals will have to remove the contact lenses before sleeping.

They are available in many colors, providing lenses that offer subtle changes and enhancing an individual’s natural eye color and vibrant colors.

Individuals must have a current prescription to purchase these contacts.

FreshLook ColorBlends are available to purchase from several eyewear websites.


These soft, disposable contacts are monthly and may suit those with astigmatism.

This product is available in seabreeze blue, horizon gray, emerald green, and golden amber.

Individuals will need a current prescription to purchase these contact lenses.

TORIColors lenses are available to buy online from several eyewear websites.

The CDC state that having regular eye exams can identify when a person requires vision correction and can protect their eyes for the future.

Regular eye exams are important because some of the leading causes of vision loss, such as cataracts and glaucoma, may not display symptoms in their early stages.

The CDC recommend that the following people should have a dilated eye exam every 2years to catch early signs of vision loss:

  • those with a family history of glaucoma
  • African Americans who are 40 years or older
  • people over the age of 60

When to seek immediate advice

If a person experiences any of the following symptoms, they should make an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible:

  • decrease in vision
  • draining or redness in one or both eyes
  • eye pain
  • double vision
  • floaters
  • circles or halos around lights
  • flashes of light

These symptoms may be a sign of an eye condition that needs urgent treatment.

Contact lenses are a popular and convenient way to correct vision. Colored contact lenses are available in both corrective and non-corrective prescriptions.

Individuals who wish to purchase colored contact lenses will need a prescription. The selling of non-prescription colored contact lenses is illegal, and people may increase the risk of complications if they buy non-prescription lenses.

It is essential to have regular eye exams and look after colored contact lenses properly to protect eye health.