10 Tips for Safely Wearing Color Contact Lenses and Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Colored contact lenses are a popular fashion accessory that can instantly transform your look. They come in a variety of colors and designs, and can be tinted, printed, or even hand painted. This allows you to experiment with different eye colors and enhance your natural beauty. Whether you want to go for a subtle change or a bold, dramatic look, cosmetic contact lenses offer endless possibilities. BUT there is a lot you should know before trying cosmetic contact lenses.

Different Types of Cosmetic Contact Lenses

When it comes to cosmetic contact lenses, there are a few options to choose from. The most common types include color contact lenses, sclera contact lenses (not to be confused with scleral lenses),  and custom colored contacts. Cosmetic color contact lenses are designed to change the color of your eyes, while cosmetic sclera contact lenses cover a larger portion of your eye, creating a more dramatic effect commonly used in tv and movies. Custom colored contacts can be specially made to match your unique eye color and provide a hyper-realistic-looking enhancement or they can be one-of-a-kind works of art that are dramatic and bold. 

Cosmetic contact lenses come in a variety of color styles too. Cosmetic lenses colored with enhancement tints have translucent coloring designed to enhance a natural eye color, making it more vibrant. Color contacts with opaque colors, on the other hand, can alter your eye color completely. 

These cosmetic contact lenses are sometimes used on a daily basis by individuals wanting to enhance their natural beauty with the eye color of their choice. Opaque color contacts are also ideal for theatrical purposes, as well as for Halloween and cosplay costumes. 

Are Cosmetic Contact Lenses Safe?

While cosmetic contact lenses can be a great way to change your appearance, it’s important to prioritize safety. At all times you should keep in mind that all contact lenses, cosmetic or otherwise, are medical devices, regulated by the FDA and FTC and must be prescribed by a licensed eye care profession. Improper use of cosmetic contact lenses can lead to eye infections, corneal abrasions, other serious complications, and even blindness. It is crucial to be examined, fit, trained and prescribed your colored lenses by an eye care professional before purchasing and wearing cosmetic contact lenses. They will ensure that the lenses fit properly and you are provided with the necessary guidance on how to care for them. 

Tips for Safely Wearing Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Whether you’re looking to subtly enhance your natural beauty or cosplaying for an upcoming con, the following tips will help you safely create an exciting new look.

#1 Consult with an Eye Care Professional

Schedule an appointment with one of CLEI’s contact lens specialists to get a comprehensive eye exam. Our eye doctors can determine if you are a suitable candidate for cosmetic contact lenses. As with any contact lens, there is a fitting process to make sure the lens is the right size. Why is this important? If a lens is  poorly fit to your eye it can cause corneal abrasions that can lead to infection and other issues. It’s the reason why a prescription is required for colored contacts in the US, even if they have no corrective power. Seeing an eye doctor before purchasing color contact lenses is a crucial first step towards safely using colored contacts.

#2 Purchase Your Contacts Through a Reputable Vendor

Avoid purchasing colored contacts from a store or person who doesn’t ask to see a prescription. All contact lenses sold in the US require a prescription that will specify the lens material or brand, curvature, diameter and power.  If you find cheap colored contacts at novelty stores, flea markets, beach shops, or beauty salons that can be purchased without a prescription it should raise a red flag. The FTC even has a website to report these businesses as the lenses they sell are unregulated and can put you at risk for eye injuries and infection. Instead, opt for a vendor that requires a prescription verification from your doctor and has a good reputation.

#3 Wash Your Hands

Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses. This may sound like a common sense tip, but it’s still worth mentioning. If your hands aren’t clean when you handle your contact lenses and put them in your eyes, you run the risk of infection, which can lead to other serious complications. 

#4 Stick to Your Wearing Schedule

Follow the recommended wearing schedule provided by your eye care professional. Avoid wearing the lenses for longer than recommended to prevent eye irritation and discomfort in the short term, and long term eye health issues.

#5 Clean Your Contacts Regularly

Clean and disinfect your lenses regularly using the appropriate contact lens solution, as recommended by your eye doctor. Avoid using tap water or saliva, as these can introduce harmful bacteria to the lenses. Not only will this protect your eyes, it will extend the life of your contacts. When cleaning your lenses it’s important to rub them in the palm of your hand with a little bit of solution, this mechanical rubbing will help break down deposits that will stick to lenses.

#6 Mind How You Store Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Cosmetic contact lenses need to be stored in a clean contact lens case filled with fresh solution when they aren’t in use, just like regular contacts. Replace your contact lens case every three months to prevent bacterial contamination.

#7 Don’t Share Your Contacts with Friends

Your new look will likely create some buzz among your friends, so much so that they might ask to try on your colored contacts. No matter how much you love your friends, you should never share your cosmetic contact lenses with others. Shared contacts come with an increased risk of eye infections and other complications, for them and for you.

#8 Know When to Take Your Cosmetic Contact Lenses Out

Remove your cosmetic contact lenses before going to bed, swimming, or participating in any water activities. Sleeping or exposing your contact lenses to water dramatically increases the risk of infection. Infections caused by poorly cared for contact lenses are painful, extremely difficult to treat, and can be sight threatening.

#9 Know When to Call Your Eye Doctor

If you experience any discomfort, redness, irritation, or reduced vision while wearing your cosmetic contact lenses, remove them immediately and consult with your eye care professional. They can help you determine the cause and address it. 

#10 Replace Colored Contact Lenses Regularly

Regularly replace your lenses as recommended by your eye care professional. Even if you only use them once for a party or event, you still need to dispose of them by their expiration date. Over time, lenses can accumulate debris and deposits such proteins, lipids, and mucus from your eye leading to eye irritation, dry eye or infection. They can also become contaminated by harmful bacteria that can wreak havoc on your eyes. If they’re expired, throw them away. 


Cosmetic contact lenses offer a world of possibilities when it comes to enhancing your natural beauty and changing up your appearance. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and follow proper care and maintenance routines. Keeping these tips in mind you can enjoy the benefits of cosmetic contact lenses while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable. Book an appointment today to get a cosmetic contact lens prescription.

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