What are coloured contact lenses?

Coloured contact lenses are specially formulated lenses that allow the wearer to change their eye colour - this could be for everyday wear or for special occasions. View our complete range of coloured contact lenses here.

It is possible to buy coloured contact lenses for prescription and cosmetic purposes:

  • Prescription formats: If you have myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) or astigmatism you can buy prescription lenses that change the appearance of your eye colour (not available from Vision Direct), so that you can wear these for cosmetic purposes as well as for vision defects. It is worth noting that if you have astigmatism it is much harder to find toric coloured lenses, although they are available, this is only in a limited range of prescriptions. We recommend speaking to your optician if you want to find out about toric coloured contact lenses.
  • Plano formats: If you do not require prescription lenses but still want to benefit from the cosmetic effects of coloured contact lenses, plano lenses (or power: 0.00) are specially designed for this purpose, featuring no vision correction.

Although coloured contact lenses are often more expensive, many wearers are happy to pay for a totally unique new look.

What types of coloured lenses are there?

Generally speaking, coloured contact lenses are designed to mimic the appearance of the iris - the coloured part of the eye. The iris is a blend of different coloured lines and shapes, so in order to capture a likeness coloured contact lenses are created using dots and lines for a natural look. In the middle of coloured lenses is the pupil - this is left clear, allowing wearers to see through it.

Although all coloured lenses have a similar make up and purpose, there are three kind of tints available:

  • Opaque tinted lenses (not available from Vision Direct) allow you to totally alter your eye colour by adding a non-transparent tint to the lens, ideal for those with darker eyes. These lenses come in a range of colours, such as green, blue, brown, hazel and grey. Opaque tinted lenses are also available in special effect forms for novelty use, such as cat or vampire eyes which are perfect for fancy dress, film or stage costumes.
  • Enhancement tinted lenses add solid colour to the lens which is still transparent enough to help enhance your natural eye colour. These tinted lenses are ideal if you have a pale shade of eye colour and wish to make it more vivid.
  • Visibility tinted lenses are a common choice for those who do not want to change their eye colour but want a feint green or bluish tint that helps the contact stand out during insertion or removal and is useful if you lose the lens.

How to choose the correct shade

Choosing the best shade of coloured contact lenses for your eyes depends on many aspects. For example, if you want to produce a subtle and natural effect, you will need to consider your hair and skin tone, but if you want to make a provocative and dramatic statement, you have free rein and do not necessarily need to take these factors into account.

Lighter eyes

If you feel your eye colour isn't bold enough, opting for enhancement tinted lenses in your natural colour is a subtle way of deepening the colour around the edges of the iris, helping your eyes stand out FreshLook Colorblends or SofLens Natural Colors are are a great way to add a subtle overtone to your existing eye colour.

However, you can still experiment while playing safe, with different coloured lenses that match your skin tone. If your eye colour is naturally a light blue, try green or grey opaque lenses to give your eyes a subtle new effect.

But if you'd rather go for a striking new look, opt for opaque lenses in shades that are not naturally suited to your complexion, such as brown shades for pale skin and blonde hair.

Darker eyes

If you have dark eyes, using enhancement lenses will only make them stronger, so to soften their effect try lighter shades of brown or a greenish-brown shade such as hazel in opaque tinted lenses.

However, you can also experiment with vibrant colours (FreshLook Colors are ideal for this), such as violet or amethyst, blue and green. For those with an olive or dark skin tone, a lighter eye colour can have a striking effect for a cool and sparkling look that will help you stand out.

Customised tinted lenses

There are many options available for those who want a truly unique look, with many eyewear manufacturers designing customised tinted lenses (not available from Vision Direct) for prescription and non-prescription wearers.

These can be created using a range of different colours blended in varying degrees of vibrancy for a nuanced effect. Custom-made colour contact lenses are also often partially transparent, which allows them to have a very natural look.

Customised lenses also have non-cosmetic benefits. If you have suffered an eye injury in the past or have a congenital eye defect, for example, custom-made coloured contacts can help mask these and create the appearance of a healthy pupil.

They have even been known to be used by athletes seeking to improve their visual ability. Custom-made contacts known as 'sport tinted lenses' can reduce glare, increase depth perception and even improve sensitivity to contrasting colours, with tinted lenses providing a more acute awareness of an object against a background.

Important aspects to consider

Choosing to wear coloured lenses is a great way to liven up your look, but make sure you are aware of these important aspects before you begin wearing them:

Coloured contacts come in a range of sizes to fit most wearers; however it is possible for the coloured portion to obscure part of the pupil, which can be noticeable, especially if using opaque lenses.

Because coloured lenses are not wholly transparent, any changes in pupil size can affect your visibility. For example, in darker conditions your pupil will increase in size, possibly beyond the hole provided at the centre of the lens, meaning some of your sight may be restricted.

Are coloured lenses safe to use?

Provided you are using a reputable brand, rather than a cheap knock off pair, there is no need to worry about safety when using coloured lenses. Make sure you see your optician for a professional fitting, which will ensure that your lenses are the correct size and that they look and feel comfortable. They will also be able to advise you on how to care for them.

Make sure that you take proper care of your lenses and your eyes by following guidance on how long you can wear them for and when it is time to change them. You may only choose to wear coloured lenses for one-off occasions, which makes daily disposable lenses an ideal choice, particularly as monthly lenses can be worn for 30 consecutive days, not 30 individual times!.

Is a prescription required for coloured lenses?

If you want to wear coloured contact lenses, you need a valid prescription. Even if you are not wearing coloured contacts for any visual correction, only for cosmetic purposes (plano lenses), you must still obtain a prescription from an optician.

Coloured contact lenses cannot be sold without a prescription for health and safety reasons. At Vision Direct we also recommend that you check the source you are buying them from is legitimate and reputable, as incorrect lenses and lens care procedures could damage your eyes and vision.

Advice for wearing coloured lenses

Don't share your lenses

Even if you want to try a new colour, do not swap lenses. Lenses sit on the surface of the eye and therefore pick up bacteria, which if spread to others can cause serious eye infections. Each pair of coloured contacts also requires a prescription, which ensures they are fitted to your individual specifications.

Care for your lenses properly

Just like regular contact lenses, coloured contacts must be disinfected, cleaned and stored using the proper lens care products and guidance to ensure your eyes do not become irritated or infected. It is also important to know when to replace your lenses, which your optician will be able to advise you on.

Stop wearing your lenses if your eyes become sore or irritated

Symptoms such as sore, itchy or red eyes may point to a contact-lens induced infection in your eye, or another serious problem. If you experience this kind of discomfort during or after wearing your contacts, we at Vision Direct recommend you remove your lenses and contact your optician as soon as possible. It might be a good idea to ensure you have a spare pair of glasses to wear in the meantime.

Experiment and enjoy your new style

Coloured contacts are a great way to enhance your features or create a totally new look. Whatever effect you want your lenses to have, there is a wide range of choices available thanks to the popularity of coloured lenses. However, before making your final decision, we advise all customers to discuss their needs with an optician, to ensure you get the right look and fit that you feel comfortable with.