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Your guide to colored contact lenses for astigmatism

woman putting in colored contacts for her astigmatism

Maybe you’ve got astigmatism, but you’ve always wanted vibrant jewel-toned eyes. Now you’re wondering: Are there colored contacts for astigmatism? 

It is possible to get colored contact lenses for astigmatism, but you won’t find a wide selection — especially if you have more significant astigmatism. 

Still have your sights set on color contacts for astigmatism? Let’s take a look at your options.

How colored contacts for astigmatism work

Soft contact lenses made to correct astigmatism are called toric lenses. These lenses are slightly weighted so they’ll sit in the proper position on your eye and provide crisp, clear vision.

Few companies make toric colored contacts for astigmatism. In fact, Alcon recently discontinued its brand of colored contact lenses for astigmatism — FreshLook Colorblends Toric — which means even fewer choices.

Standard colored contacts typically come in two different types of tints:

  • Enhancement tint — As the name suggests, these contact lenses merely enhance your natural eye color.

  • Opaque tint — These contacts can give you a whole new eye color and even make brown eyes blue or green.

Due to the limited choices for toric colored contacts, you likely will have fewer options on color choice or tint than those with near- or farsightedness.

Another way to get color contacts for astigmatism

If you’ve got your heart set on color contacts, you do have a few other possibilities you may want to discuss with your eye care provider. 

First, if you have astigmatism correction (the cylinder number in your Rx) below a certain threshold, your eye doctor may be able to correct your vision with lenses not intended for astigmatism, says Chris Day, in-house optician and contact lens fitter for Clearly. Going that route may open up an array of options since you’ll be able to use standard colored contacts, Day says.

However, if your astigmatism correction is higher (a cylinder number greater than +/- 0.75) then you have far fewer choices. There aren’t any colored contacts made of modern materials that correct higher astigmatism values, Day says.

Another option: You could consider getting LASIK for astigmatism and then using plano (non-prescription) color contacts. These are purely cosmetic colored contacts that don’t correct vision.

Best colored contacts for astigmatism

The term “best colored contacts for astigmatism” is relative considering there are so few choices. However, here are some options for colored contacts for patients with astigmatism:

  • TORIColors — These monthly color contacts for astigmatism are made by Poly Dev and offer vibrant opaque color. They come in four color choices: horizon grey, emerald green, seabreeze blue and golden amber.

  • Custom colored contacts for astigmatism — Another option is to talk with your doctor about the possibility of getting custom color contacts for astigmatism. For example, the Italian company Desio offers custom colored contacts for astigmatism.

If your doctor is able to fit you with standard contacts because you have only a small degree of astigmatism, here are a few picks for best colored contacts:

  • Air Optix Colors — These monthly colored contacts from Alcon work for both dark and light colored eyes and come in 12 colors, including amethyst, honey and turquoise. They offer a virtual color contact tool so you can “try on” colors using a photo of yourself.

  • 1-Day Acuvue Define — These daily color-enhancing contacts are designed to play up your own eye color and add sparkle, and they come in different variations for dark or light eyes.

  • Dailies Colors — These daily color contact lenses from Alcon come in four colors: mystic blue, mystic grey, mystic green and mystic hazel. They’re designed to enhance your natural eye color.

If you’re worried about cost, you should know colored contacts may cost double the amount you’d pay for clear contacts, and toric contacts for astigmatism cost more than standard soft contacts. 

For this reason, it’s not possible to buy “cheap” colored contacts for astigmatism. 

Are colored contact lenses for astigmatism safe?

The dye used to make colored contacts may make them less healthy for your eyes, says Burt Dubow, an optometrist and past chair of the contact lens section of the American Optometric Association.

“The dye tends to cut down on the amount of oxygen that goes through the lens,” Dubow says. “So there's not as much comfort or safety in a tinted contact lens.”

Many eye doctors are leery of having patients wear tinted contact lenses that last two weeks or a month because, as the lenses get dirty from wear, even less oxygen gets through to the eyes, he says.

Daily tinted lenses are the safest, Dubow says. But no contact lens company currently makes daily tinted lenses for astigmatism.

The health issues apply only to contacts designed to change your eye color, not to lenses tinted so they’re easier to see. “A visibility tint is such a small amount of dye that it doesn't affect the safety of the lens wearer,” he says.

Where to buy colored contacts for astigmatism

If you’ve ever wondered, “Can you get colored contacts if you have an astigmatism?” the answer is yes — if you’re willing to put in a little legwork.

First, shop around for colored contacts to see what options exist and what colors you prefer. Then make an appointment with your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting. 

Considerations with colored contacts for astigmatism

Keep in mind that colored contacts for astigmatism tend to be made from older and less modern materials, Day points out. These materials aren't as permeable to oxygen, though they can still provide excellent vision and healthy eyes.

“It’s imperative that you work with your eye care professional to be fitted with lenses that your eye doctor can confirm fit well and are giving your corneas the oxygen they need,” Day says.

Here are some other things to remember when considering colored contacts for astigmatism:

  • There may be some occasions (such as blinking) when the colored portion of the lens slides a bit over the pupil. This can create an unnatural look, particularly with opaque color contacts.

  • Because your pupils change in size to accommodate varying light conditions, there may be times when they are larger than the clear center of your color lenses. In some cases, this may affect your ability to see clearly.

  • While contacts can be a convenient alternative to glasses, they come with some risks and limitations. If you don't use, wear, clean or take care of your contacts as directed by your doctor, or if you wear your contacts for too many hours before removing them or for longer than the recommended time period before replacing them — e.g., one month versus two weeks — proteins and bacteria can build up on the lenses, leading to discomfort, irritation and even infection.

  • Other potential risks of wearing contact lenses — no matter what type of contacts you choose — include corneal infections, conjunctivitis (pink eye), ulcerations and scratches on the cornea, vision impairment, and even blindness.

If you're interested in colored contacts and have astigmatism, ask your eye doctor what options you have.

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