Woman with blue hair wearing blue colored contact lenses among yellow flowers.
Getty Images/Francesco Carta fotografo

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If you are thinking about buying colored contact lens online, you know how important it is to be careful.

Retailers that follow Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for the sale of decorative or costume contact lenses typically sell those that have been proven to be safe and are backed by a big-name optical brand.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that it’s illegal for retailers in the United States to sell contact lenses — even decorative or costume contact lenses — without a prescription.

Some Halloween shops and beauty supply stores may sell contact lens without a prescription, but they are likely doing so against the law.

It’s wise to avoid these. Wearing poorly fitted lenses with questionable materials can increase your risk of an eye infection as well as other serious complications.

We will show you how to buy colored contacts online and give you options for purchasing them safely, so that you can buy with peace of mind.

Colored contacts are disposable and can be used to change the appearance of your eyes.

Can I get colored contacts with my prescription?

Yes. Colored contacts can be made with your prescription. They change your look and vision.

I don’t need vision correction. Can I get colored contacts without any prescription?

Yes. Contacts can be made without vision correction and can be used to modify eye color. Colored contacts are called decorative or costume contacts without a prescription.

Currently, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that you get input from an eye care professional before opting for a pair of colored contacts, even if you don’t have a prescription for vision correction.

You can get a prescription for colored contacts from an eye care professional.


  • Colored contacts are a fun way to change the color of your eyes.
  • Prescription contact lenses that have a color element help you see clearly.
  • Every time you order a box of disposable contacts, you can change your look with different colors.


  • Some colored contact lens are not safe to use.
  • Black sclera contacts can cause irritation to your eyes and obstruct your vision, which is why they are more dramatic than other colored contacts.
  • If colored contacts aren’t fitted correctly to you, you risk eye conditions, such as corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers, and bacterial infections in your eyes.
  • Some online reviews say that colored contacts are thicker than regular contacts.

There are several brands of colored contacts on the market, but only the highest quality products made it onto our list of top picks. We settled on five that met our standards after researching over 10 popular types.

  • FDA approval. We checked the online FDA database to verify that each of our top picks was, in fact, approved by the FDA.
  • Prescription required. Contacts cannot be legally sold without a prescription. That’s why we made sure that each of these products asks for a prescription prior to purchase.
  • Largely positive unpaid customer reviews. Some heavily promoted colored contacts brands receive rave reviews in sponsored posts, but these can be biased. To get a more accurate sense of user experience, we focused on the feedback given on customer review sites and marketplaces instead.
  • Selection. We also looked to highlight brands that carry a wide array of options for different prescription needs and color preferences.

Pricing guide

“Prices vary depending on where you purchase your lens, as well as if you have a coupon code or manufacturer’s discount. We tried to explain the different prices in the guide.”

Pricing is based on the cost of a 30-day supply of contact lens and assumes that you can use the same box of contacts for both of your eyes.

  • $ = under $30
  • $$ = $30–$40
  • $$$ = over $40

Best dailies

1-Day Acuvue Define

Price: $$

These contacts give you protection from the sun while giving you a natural look. They are meant to be thrown away daily, keeping your eye care routine easy to follow.

“If you don’t need vision correction, you can get these with 0.0 power if you have a prescription.”

“These contacts are meant to be subtle and not change your appearance. Some reviewers say that changing your eye color isn’t worth the extra cost.”


  • The subtle accentuation to your eyes is added by the lens.
  • They have built-in UV protection.


  • “Some reviewers don’t think these contacts are worth the time and effort.”
  • They are meant to be worn for a day.

Best monthly

Alcon Air Optix Colors

Price: $$$

If you have the same prescription in both eyes, a box of six might last you three months.

They have a wide array of colors to choose from, so you can change your look when you run out of contacts.

Alcon Air Optix colors are available by prescription. Reviewers say they are very comfortable to wear.


  • These contacts can be worn for a month.
  • Users say that they are still comfortable and long- lasting.
  • There are many colors to choose from.


  • The cost is higher up-front than other options.

Best for astigmatism


Price: $$$

The disposables are made for people with astigmatism.

They are the only FDA-approved option for people with astigmatism. You can accentuate your eyes with a variety of colors.


  • These contacts are approved for use in people with a high degree of astigmatism.
  • They are prescribed for a single month of use per lens, which could save you money in the long run.


  • There are only a few colors that are subtle.
  • They are more expensive than other colored lens options, and you will have to invest more in them up-front.

Best biweekly

Alcon FreshLook Colorblends

Price: $$

The contacts are supposed to be used for a couple of weeks. The Alcon FreshLook Colorblends line offers more dramatic colors, such as Brilliant Blue or Gemstone Green, as well as more subtle, classic eye accentuation options.

You can wear these contacts every day for vision correction or get them without the vision correction option. Either way, you’ll need a prescription. Some reviewers note that the contacts left their eyes dry, so keep that in mind if you’re prone to chronic dry eye.


  • There are some options for this product that give a costume effect.
  • Even if you wear them for aesthetic reasons, they are safe for everyday use.


  • “If you have dry eye, these aren’t a good choice.”
  • It is hard to tell the difference between subtle and bold colors, so you might end up trying a few before you decide.

Most natural-looking

Alcon Dailies Colors

Price: $

These disposable contacts can be purchased with vision correction.

The company says that these contacts will make your eyes look brighter.

While most reviewers claim that the lenses are comfortable (and well-priced, depending on where you buy them), note that the color accentuation may be more subtle than you were hoping for. You can visit the Alcon try-on widget to take a look at how different colors might look on you before you purchase.


  • The company says the color accentuation qualities of the lenses are natural.
  • The contacts only need to last a day.
  • They are available at a lower price than our other daily top pick.


  • “They won’t change your appearance.”
  • There are four options.

Product Price Type Good for astigmatism? Subtle or dramatic?
1-Day Acuvue Define $$ Dailies No Subtle
Alcon Air Optix Colors $$$ Monthly No Both
TORIColors $$$ Monthly Yes Subtle
Alcon FreshLook Colorblends $$ 1-2 weeks No Both
Alcon Dailies Colors $ Dailies No Subtle

You should get a prescription from your eye doctor before buying colored contacts. They can give you feedback on whether colored contacts are right for you.

If you know you’re prone to pink eye (conjunctivitis), eye infections, or corneal abrasions because you’ve had them in the past, be mindful of where you get your colored contacts. Avoid retailers that don’t seem legitimate.

What prescriptions are colored contacts available in?

Colored contacts are manufactured for people with a prescription for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), as well as astigmatism, and multifocal prescriptions. They’re also available with 0.0 power.

Remember these tips when buying colored contacts online.

  • Get a prescription. Contacts that offer color accentuation typically still require a prescription. An eye doctor can give you a prescription that doesn’t have a spherical power, but that still allows the contacts to be fitted to your eyes. Contacts are a medical device, so any reputable eyewear retailer will require some form of a prescription before you’re able to buy them.
  • Research the product. If you’re looking for a dramatic change to your eye color, make sure to look up each product by name and read the reviews. You’ll see that results vary by brand.
  • Remember the color wheel. If you’re trying to accentuate your naturally green eyes with an amethyst-colored contact lens, chances are that you might end up with unnatural-looking brown eyes tinted a slight gray (or some other combination that isn’t what you were going for). Try accentuating your natural color first (for example, try a bright blue if your eyes are already blue-gray) and play around with different colors from there.

Contact lenses aren’t meant to be a novelty product. Wearing contacts incorrectly can result in scratching the surface of your eye, restricting blood flow into your eye, or an eye infection. Following best practices on how to wear contact lenses will help you use these products safely.

Make sure to say so.

  • Do not wash your contact lens with water. Always use a sterile solution.
  • “Before putting contacts in, wash your hands thoroughly and don’t touch your eyes.”
  • If you use damaged or torn lens, avoid it.
  • “Try to keep the lens in its recommended use. Don’t use weeklies for 2 weeks, and avoid using dailies for more than 1 day.”
  • Store contacts overnight.

If you see any signs of an eye problem, stop using the product and go to your eye doctor. If you notice any of the symptoms, you should see a doctor.

  • watery eyes
  • discharge coming from your eye
  • blurry vision
  • redness
  • swelling
  • Light has a sensitivity to light.

Are colored contacts safe?

“FDA-approved colored contacts can be considered safe. Colored contacts that are sold at retailers that don’t require a prescription might not be. They could be made with inferior materials and be unsuitable for your eye.”

What is a good brand of colored contacts?

Major manufacturers produce FDA-approved brands of colored contacts. These include Alcon, Acuvue, and TORIColors.

How long can you wear colored contacts each day?

You can wear colored contacts for up to 16 hours a day. If you have dry eye, you should wear contacts for shorter periods. If you are unsure about the instructions that come with contact lens or eyewear, you should ask your eye doctor.

Which colored contacts are the most comfortable?

The most comfortable colored contacts are dependent on how the product fits your eye. 1-Day Acuvue Define seems to get some positive reviews.

“Buying decorative contact lenses from online retailers who don’t require a prescription is not a good idea.”

“Contact lenses that aren’t medical-grade can scratch your eyes, damage your cornea, and even lead to infections. There are many brands that offer eye-color accentuation products with a prescription.”

If you are interested in trying colored contacts but have not been to the eye doctor for a prescription, now is a good time to visit. You might get some free sample contacts.