Coloured contact lenses enhance the eye’s appearance by changing the colour of the iris (coloured part of the eye). These lenses are made up of coloured dots and radial-coloured lines that mimic the natural iris pattern to give a realistic appearance. Coloured lenses used for cosmetic purposes usually have a transparent central portion surrounded by the coloured portion. These lenses do not hamper your vision or colour perception.


Figure 1 describes the location of the iris (coloured part of the eye) and pupil (opening in the centre of the eye)

Types of tints:

Transparent tints: Transparent tints or visibility tints are used mainly to help contact lens wearers for easy handling and aids in differentiating between the right and left eye lenses. Coloured lenses with transparent tints do not alter the colour of the eyes when worn. These lenses are generally available in white, light blue and green colour. 

Opaque tints: Opaque tinted lenses are used for cosmesis or to mask the flaws of the disfigured eye due to any eye diseases. Opaque tinted lenses can also be used as therapeutic lenses in amblyopia (lazy eyes). 


Figure 2: a) shows the appearance of the eye with different coloured contact lenses when worn. b) Depicts the appearance of coloured contact lenses with coloured patterns that represent the iris and transparent centre portion of the lens that lies on the pupil 

Fitting the right coloured lenses:

The selection of right coloured contact lenses from a wide variety of available lenses depends on various factors. Patients’ desire and need for coloured lens use, iris colour, pupil sizes, hair colour, skin tone, and appearance with the coloured lenses are a few of them.

Fitting consideration: 

As contact lenses rest on your eye and interact with the eye structures, it is always important to assess your suitability to lens wear before use. 

Contact lens practitioner will examine your eyes for lens wear’s suitability and make the measurements required to fit an ideal contact lens. After the evaluation, contact lens practitioners will determine which lens type suits you best in terms of lens material, design and replacement modalities. He will then prescribe the lenses based on your eye dimensions and needs. 

They also educate you on the guidelines that have to be followed before, during and after the lens wear. Follow up pattern will then be discussed with you to ensure that the dispensed lens fits well to your eyes. 

For successful contact lens wear, it is crucial to choose the correct lens that fits perfectly on your eyes and does not compromise the integrity of eye structure during wear. 

Are they safe?

Yes, cosmetic contact lenses are safe to use, provided you wear the right lens that matches your eye dimensions and use it as per the advice provided by your contact lens practitioner. 

Carelessness or ignorance to follow a care regimen can cause serious eye complications. In extreme cases, these complications can even lead to blindness. 

Points to consider:

The pupil’s size keeps changing when exposed to different lighting conditions to control the amount of light that enters your eye. Pupils become small when exposed to bright light conditions and become large when exposed to dim light conditions. 

Sometimes, during the dark illumination, your pupil size might become larger than the transparent portion of the lens, causing slight awareness of lens pupil margin in the line of sight. Usually, this doesn’t cause much of an issue and can be ignored easily.   

Any successful contact lens wear depends on the care and maintenance regimen. Wearers should follow the recommendations as advice based on the brand of lenses they use. Cleaning solution might not be compatible with all type of tints; hence it is essential to choose the right product for the brand you use. Use of improper lens solution may result in toxicity or fading of tints.

The contact lens colour may change with the use of an inappropriate cleaning solution or improper handling of lenses. 

Colour lenses are like that special pair of dress that has to be worn occasionally for best impact. If these lenses are worn daily, soon there will be nothing special about it. Use them sparingly for best results.  

Dos and Don’ts for healthy and successful contact lens wear:

  • Do consult a contact lens practitioner before wearing the cosmetic lens for ideal lens fitting. The fit of the contact lens is vital for comfortable lens wear. The improper fitting can damage your eyes. 
  • Do follow the advice given by your contact lens practitioner regarding lens wearing, handling, cleaning methods, replacement schedules, and follow up plans. 
  • Do follow the proper replacement schedule. Following an ideal replacement schedule can minimize the risk of infections and leads to healthy lens wear.
  • Do consult the optometrist immediately after removing your contact lenses if you experience any symptoms like redness, irritation, foreign body sensation and pain. 
  • Do not share your contact lenses with anyone. Sharing of contact lenses can result in infection. The main reason not to share your contact lenses is that all our eyes do not have the same dimensions; hence, the contact lens that fits you might not fit your friend in the same way. 
  • Do not buy contact lenses without consulting a contact lens practitioner and without a prescription. Buying contact lenses over the counter from general retail stores or online shopping platforms may be dangerous. 
  • Evidence shows, contact lens users wearing lenses without consultation are at five times more risk of developing infections. These infections can lead to blindness if it goes undiagnosed or left untreated.

Steps to be followed for successful contact lens wear:

1. Wash your hands before inserting and removing your coloured lenses

2. Rub and rinse your lenses every time before inserting and after removing the lenses

3. Use only the lens care solutions prescribed for cleaning and do not use tap water 

4. Soak the contact lens in the contact lens case with lens care solution after rinsing

5. Change the solution in the contact lens case every day, and do not top off solutions in the lens case

6. Use contact lenses only for the time advised by your contact lens practitioner

7. Do not sleep or wash face with contact lenses on

8. Clean the contact lens case with the contact lens care solution, dry it with soft clean cloth/tissue and keep it upside down with caps open after every use

9. Change the contact lens case every three months

10. If you feel any symptoms like redness, irritation, blurring of vision with contact lenses on, remove the lenses immediately and consult the contact lens practitioner

11. Follow-up with your contact lens practitioner as advised to ensure healthy and successful contact lens wear


Coloured contact lenses are used to enhance the eye by changing the colour of your iris, thus making you even more beautiful. They are available in various colours. Coloured contact lenses can be without power or customized to the wearer’s eyeglass prescription. 

Consult a contact lens practitioner before using the lenses to check your suitability and use an ideal lens for your eye dimension. Using coloured lenses bought over the counter or any other sources without prior consultation increases the risk of complications five times. Do not share or exchange your lenses with anyone. 

Follow proper pre-and post-care procedures as advice for healthy lens wear. 

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