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If you’re thinking about buying colored contact lenses online, you probably already know how important it is to be careful where you buy from.

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 is 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 inexpensive colored contact lenses without a prescription, though they’re likely doing so against the law. It’s wise to avoid these, as wearing poorly fitted lenses with questionable materials can increase your risk of an eye infection.

We’ll go over the basics of buying colored contacts online and give you options for purchasing these products safely so that you can buy with peace of mind.

Colored contacts are disposable lenses designed to temporarily change the appearance of your eyes.

Can I get colored contacts with my prescription?

Yes. Colored contacts can be made with your prescription. They correct your vision while also switching up your look.

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

Yes. Contacts can also be made without vision correction and used simply as a cosmetic device to modify your eye color. Without a prescription, colored contacts may also be called decorative or costume contacts.

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.

You can ask an eye care professional to examine your eyes and give you a prescription for colored contacts with 0.0 magnification.

To compile our list of safe brands for colored contact lenses, we looked for online retailers that follow FDA guidelines for selling contact lenses. That means that all the products on our list require a prescription for the sale of any type of contact lenses.

We also looked to highlight brands that carry a wide array of options for different prescription needs.

Prices vary based on where you purchase your lenses, as well as if you have a coupon code or a manufacturer rebate. We tried to touch on several different price points in this guide.

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

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

1-Day Acuvue Define

Price: $$

These contacts enhance the natural look of your eye color while providing ultraviolet protection. They’re meant to be disposed of daily, keeping your eye care routine hygienic and a breeze.

You do need a prescription to order these lenses, but you can get them with 0.0 magnification if you don’t need vision correction.

These contacts are meant to be subtle, not change your look dramatically. Some reviewers say they don’t change your eye color enough to be worth paying more for than regular contacts.

Alcon Air Optix Colors

Price: $$$

These lenses are meant to be disposed of monthly, which means that a box of six might last you 3 months. They have a wide array of colors to choose from — including dramatic colors or more subtle enhancements — so you can select a new look every time you run out of contacts.

Air Optix Colors are available by prescription with or without vision correction. Most reviewers say they’re incredibly comfortable to wear.

TORIColors

Price: $$$

These monthly disposables are specifically made for people with astigmatism. While these are pricier, they may be the only FDA-approved option currently available for people with astigmatism. TORIColors can enhance your eyes with blue, gray, green, or amber tones.

Alcon FreshLook Colorblends

Price: $$

These contacts are meant to be used for 1 to 2 weeks before disposing of them. The Colorblends line offers some more dramatic colors, like Brilliant Blue or Gemstone Green, as well as more subtle, classic eye enhancement 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.

Alcon Dailies Colors

Price: $

These daily disposable contacts can be purchased with vision correction or without. Available in four colors, these contacts say they’ll also 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 enhancement may be more subtle than you were hoping for.

In general, you shouldn’t purchase colored contacts without first talking with and getting a prescription from your eye doctor. They can give you input as to 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.

When you’re buying colored contacts online, remember these tips:

  • Contacts that offer color enhancement typically still require a prescription. An eye doctor can give you a prescription that doesn’t have a sphere magnification, but that still allows the contacts to be fitted to your eyes.
  • Contacts are a medical device, and any reputable eyewear retailer will require some form of a prescription before you’re able to buy any kind of contacts.
  • If you’re looking for a dramatic enhancement or 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 enhance 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 enhancing 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.

Buying decorative contact lenses from online retailers who don’t require a prescription isn’t typically a good idea. Contact lenses that aren’t medical grade can scratch your eyes, damage your cornea, and even lead to infections. There are plenty of reputable brands that offer color-changing and eye-color enhancement products with a prescription.

If you’re interested in trying colored contacts but haven’t been to the eye doctor for a prescription, now might be a great time to pay them a visit. You might even get some free sample contacts or tips on buying out of the deal.