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Can you get colored contacts from optometrist?

Colored contact lenses have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to temporarily change your eye color or add special effects. While you can buy some colored contacts over the counter, getting them properly fitted by an optometrist is the safest option.

Getting Colored Contacts from an Optometrist

Many optometrists carry colored contact lenses and will work with you to find the right pair. There are several benefits to getting colored contacts through an eye doctor rather than buying them online or without a prescription:

  • Proper fit – An optometrist will measure your eyes and make sure the contacts fit your unique eye shape and size. Ill-fitting contacts can cause pain, infections, and damage.
  • Vision correction – If you normally wear contacts or glasses to correct your vision, the optometrist can order colored contacts in your prescription.
  • Eye health – An eye doctor can evaluate your eye health and recommend appropriate contact lens wearing schedules and care solutions.
  • Advice – Optometrists can advise you on the pros and cons of different color contact options and brands to find the best match.

During a contact lens fitting exam, the optometrist will have you try on colored contact samples to evaluate the fit and look. This visit is also a good time to discuss contact lens care, insertion and removal, and any other questions with your eye doctor.

Types of Colored Contacts from Optometrists

There are a few main types of colored contact lenses you can get from an optometrist or eye doctor:

Cosmetic/Enhancing Tinted Contacts

These are contacts designed to subtly enhance or change your natural eye color. For example, making brown eyes appear slightly greenish or bluish. They have a transparent or translucent tint while still allowing your natural eye color to show through.

Opaque Color Contacts

Opaque colored contacts completely block out your natural iris color. They can transform brown eyes to blue or green eyes, for example. The color is solid and opaque.

Special Effect Contacts

These novelty contacts feature colorful designs that create a dramatic look. Effects include multi-colored designs, artistic patterns, animal shapes like cat eyes, and fantasy/sci-fi looks.

Here are some examples of popular special effect contact lens styles you can get with a prescription:

  • Jeweled or gemstone effects like emerald, sapphire, etc.
  • Blackout or zombie contacts that make the iris appear black.
  • Two-toned or split color designs half one color, half another.
  • Cat or reptile eyes with slit-shaped pupils.
  • Hearts, stars, yin yang shapes, etc.

Selecting Colored Contacts

When you work with an optometrist to select colored contact lenses, here are some factors to consider:


Major contact lens manufacturers like Acuvue, Air Optix, Freshlook, and CooperVision make colored contacts. Their products tend to be very comfortable and durable. There are also smaller specialty colored contact brands to consider.

Comfort Level

Colored contacts are available in daily disposable, two-week disposable, monthly, and yearly replacement formats. The newest generation of silicone hydrogel contacts tend to be the most breathable and comfortable for long wear times.

Prescription Strength

If you require vision correction, make sure to get your colored contacts in your proper prescription strength. Trying to wear contacts without your Rx can cause headaches, blurry vision, and eye strain.

Color and Effect

Look at color swatch samples your optometrist provides to choose your desired shade. For enhancing tints, semi-translucent effects look more natural than opaque colors. Consider your skin tone and hair color when selecting a complementary color.


Expect to pay more for colored contacts vs. clear contacts. Depending on the brand, features, and prescription, costs often range from $20-50 or more per pair. Daily disposables are the most expensive, while yearly replacement colored contacts tend to be the most affordable.

How to Care for Colored Contacts

Caring properly for your colored contact lenses is vital for keeping your eyes healthy and getting the longest wear from them. Here are some essential colored contact lens care tips:

Use the Recommended Solutions

Use only the contact lens disinfecting and storage solutions your optometrist recommends. Never use water, saliva, or rewetting drops to clean your lenses.

Rub and Rinse

Gently rub and rinse your colored contacts each time you remove them. This removes deposits, makeup, and debris to keep lenses clear.

Disinfect Between Wears

Soak and store your colored contacts in fresh disinfecting solution each night. Never re-wear lenses without disinfecting.

Don’t Sleep in Lenses

Unless your optometrist specifically approves extended overnight wear, always remove colored contacts before bed.

Watch for Problems

Pay attention to signs of irritation like redness, pain, discharge, tearing, or blurred vision. Take lenses out immediately if these occur.

Keep Supplies Stocked

Always have plenty of fresh disinfecting solution, backup pairs of lenses, and lens cases on hand.

Replace as Scheduled

Follow your optometrist’s recommendations for when to throw out old colored contact lenses and use new pairs.

Pros and Cons of Colored Contacts from Optometrist

Here is a quick overview of some of the key advantages and potential disadvantages of getting colored contact lenses from an eye doctor:


  • Get properly fitted lenses for your eyes
  • Vision correction can be incorporated
  • Professional guidance on selection, care, and wear
  • Wide selection of color and effect options
  • Can be safely worn for cosmetic enhancement


  • More expensive than costume contacts
  • Need prescription and sittings to get lenses
  • Risk of eye irritation or infection if not cared for properly
  • Some find contacts challenging to insert and remove

Cost of Colored Contacts from Optometrist

The cost of colored contact lenses from an optometrist can vary based on several factors:

Factor Impact on Cost
Contact lens brand Major brands tend to cost more than generic/store brands
Lens type Daily disposables most expensive, annual lenses cheapest
Features Special effects and custom designs cost more than basic tinted lenses
Prescription Adding vision correction increases cost
Provider Prices can vary between optometrists and retailers
Location Cost of living affects pricing in some areas

On average, expect to spend about:

  • $20-40 for basic colored enhancement tint contacts
  • $30-60 for opaque color change contacts
  • $50-100+ for specialized FX lenses

Shop around and ask for discounts to help minimize the cost of your new colored contacts.

FAQs about Colored Contacts from Optometrist

Are colored contacts bad for your eyes?

When prescribed and cared for properly, colored contacts are generally safe for your eyes. However, problems can occur if incorrect size, overwear, poor hygiene, or allergies. See an optometrist regularly when wearing colored contacts.

How long can you wear colored contacts?

Follow your optometrist’s recommended wearing schedule, such as daily disposable, two weeks maximum, or one month maximum. Sleeping in contacts too long raises infection risk.

Do colored contacts damage your eyes permanently?

There is little evidence colored contacts alone cause permanent eye damage. But improper use can lead to temporary problems like irritation, swelling, infection, and vision changes if not treated promptly.

What age can you get colored contacts?

The FDA approves colored contacts for children age 6 and over. However, wait until at least age 10 before considering contacts, when responsibility and dexterity improve.

Can I buy colored contacts online without a prescription?

Purchasing colored contacts without a valid prescription is risky and illegal in many countries. Get properly fitted by an optometrist to protect your eye health.


Visiting an optometrist to get custom-fitted colored contact lenses is the best way to safely change your eye color temporarily. Make sure to follow your eye doctor’s recommendations for insertion, removal, wear times, replacement schedules, and lens care. When used properly, contacts prescribed by an optometrist can let you express your individual style while still maintaining excellent vision and eye health.