How Do Colored Contact Lenses Work?

The ability to change your eye color simply by putting on a contact lens is becoming more popular every day. Many people like them for fun and never really care how colored contact lenses work. If you are a little more inquisitive, read on and I will tell you exactly how colored contact lenses work.

The concept of colored contact lenses is to cover the iris with a new color. In general, neat colored contact lenses come in two varieties; opaque colors and enhancement tints. Both designs work well depending on the iris color they are covering. One amazing feature of colored lenses is that they never look exactly the same on one person as they do on another.

Opaque lenses are intended to change an eye’s color entirely. Opaque lenses can be used to change a green eye blue or brown eye green. They usually have a clear pupil opening in the center of the lens and a heavy color over the iris area. Depending on the style of lens and the color chosen, texture and tint of color will vary. For example, an Acuvue 2 opaque blue is very different from a Freshlook blue.

Color enhancer contact lenses are used to boost an existing eye color or slightly alter its tint. Enhancers have a light tint which will vary from covering the entire lens, to simply covering the outer edge of the iris. A sea green enhancer put on top of a green eye will give a bright green and very natural effect. That same lens put on a brown eye will probably have no effect to the original eye color.

A new concept in eye color enhancement is the equinox lens. This lens simply has a black ring around the outside of the iris. This simple feature adds a mesmerizing effect to anyone’s existing eye color and usually looks completely natural.

Colored lenses are designed to be a fun accessory. Change your eye color based on your mood, outfit, makeup, or plans. Regardless of how much fun you are having with them, remember they need to be fit to your eyes and proper care must be taken. Follow your eye care provider’s advice as to which lenses will work for you and how to care for them properly.


  1. Anyone can tell by looking at a colored lens where the color has been added. I want to know how it is added, why it works and what is happening on the molecular level.

  2. This article is very informing, and includes a vast amount of great information. Enough to cover everything about how contact lenses work. I myself am soon going to buy contact lenses, my eyes are blue, they used to be a very light blue but now have become alot darker, so thanks to you're information I'll know what ones to get. Again Thanks!

  3. I really wanted to know how they work, not what types there are. 🙂

  4. Nice points you have shared, having the best type of colored contact lenses not only enhances a good appearance during some occasions but also boosts one's confidence, not forgetting that lenses work perfectly to improve vision. Therefore, you should have the right information at your disposal before making any attempt to buy your best design.

  5. This article was informational enough, to me. I only wanted to know what they were and how they looked on someone's eye.

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Steve Cogger

Steve Cogger has over 10 years experience as a specialty contact lens fitter at Theo E. Obrig, Inc., a referral based practice for some of the most challenging contact lens fits in New York City. He is an active Fellow of the Contact Lens Society of America as well as a former member of the Board of Directors at the CLSA. Aside from fitting his own patients, Steve served as the Director of Clinical Support and Training for Wave Contact lenses for the past four years where he helped others fit and design specialty gas permeable contact lenses for their patients.

linkedin: stevecogger

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