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Color Contacts: History of Changing Your Eye Color

Color Contacts: History of Changing Your Eye Color

It has been said that eyes are the window into the soul. If that is true, then eye colors are the soul’s curtains, a decorative adornment that frames your view of the main event. Human eye color is determined by a number of factors, including the pigment of melanin within the iris, as well as the thickness of iris cell layers, which causes light to be absorbed in different ways. These factors are often determined genetically, as certain eye colors can either be dominant or recessive.

Brown Eyes

Brown eyes are a dominant trait extremely prevalent in people from continents like Africa and Asia.


If you’ll recall from 10th grade biology, the easiest way to represent how dominant and recessive traits manifest themselves is using a Punnett Square. In reality, eye colors are derived from a variety of factors, including how much yellow and black pigment certain genes are coded to produce.

Blue Eyes

A recessive trait, blue eyes are often thought of as a sought-after characteristic. One study even shows that blue eyed men seek out blue-eyed women from an evolutionary standpoint in order to verify paternity.


A recent study in the Daily Mail showed a correlative relationship between blue eyed individuals and more effective studying habits (the same study showed that people with brown-eyes had faster reaction times).

According to Noele Kensut, in 1900, almost 50% of Americans had blue eyes. However, that number is dwindling quickly reaching only 17% today. More interestingly, no President since Richard Nixon has been elected without blue eyes. Kensut speculates that that’s because voters subconsciously register a preference for someone with “deeper roots” in America. In any case, the number of blue-eyed people continues to decline.

Green Eyes

Extremely beautiful and very rare, green eyes are a recessive trait that exist in only 1-2% of the population.

Part of their rarity derives from the fact that even blue eyes are dominant over green eyes. Green eyes have been prominently mentioned in pop culture works such as Coldplay’s “Green Eyes” song and Joyce Carol Oates book, Freaky Green Eyes.

The History of Colored Contacts

With dramatic advancements in technology in the last few decades, it is now possible to use contact lenses to cosmetically alter the appearance of eyes. To trace the history of colored contacts, one first needs to know the history of contact lenses in general. Although Leonardo Da Vinci is often credited with having conceived of the first ever contact lens in his book Codex of the eye, Manual D, it was not until 1887 that F.E. Muller, a German glassblower, developed an eye covering that could be worn bearably. German physiologist Adolf Eugen Fick had grabbed hold on the concept within a year's time and created the first wearable contact lens. Sadly it was very unwieldy, large and could only be worn a few hours at a time.


In 1949, the first "corneal" contact lenses were developed, which could be worn 16 hours at a time. PMMA corneal lenses were causing quite a stir by the 1960's as people with poor eyesight were finally able to experience what it was like not to wear glasses. What came clear with more time, however, was that PMMA corneal lenses came consequences: the lenses did not allow any oxygen through the lens to the conjunctiva and cornea. "RGP" lenses (rigid gas permeable) were developed to remedy this problem, but were of course quite uncomfortable for the wearer. Czech chemist Otto Wichterle finally developed the first soft contact lens, which was approved by the FDA in 1971 and forever changed contact lenses for public usage.

Today, a wide variety of colored contact lenses are available for purchase for prescription or cosmetic use (the latter are called Plano, or zero-power contacts.) Most commonly people with brown eyes want to try a lighter color, as lighter eyes are frequently portrayed as being more desirable. However, lighter eyes tend to absorb sunlight more easily and cause sensitivity, so there is in fact a price to pay for their loveliness. Brown eyes can often deepen a rich and sensuous appearance as well, which blue eyes cannot necessarily duplicate. Each color has its own depth and beauty, and the existence of colored lenses make it possible for us to play with all of them.


Showing 1 - 20 of 20 Comments
I always wanted coloured contacts... until I figured out that I couldn't put any contacts in because I was too afraid to touch my eyes, XD

I have blue/green/brown eyes, going from the outside to the inside. (:
Can I ask where you got the photos? I've actually been looking (with not very much success to my surprise) for photos I can use on an opticians website.

Anyway I love the dark brown colour of my eyes and I don't think I would suit any other colour.
interesting so basically in time there will be only brown eyed people... i've thought about getting coloured contacts maybe i will ;D
Always good to refresh old school knowledge. Didnt realise green was so rare though. I have a wierd green merky grey colour eyes. Not very interesting eyeballs.
I love my eyes (medium-light blue and gold), but I wouldn't mind coloured contacts, either. Variety is a wonderful thing, and I've always loved green eyes on girls. ;D
in theory pretty soon we'll all have the same coloured skin tone and hair. in theory. i would love to have greyish-purple eyes. unfortunately, i can't touch my eyes, either, and so i'm stuck with my boring brown ones. i do have a friend, however, that has a lot of red in her brown eyes. it's a bit astonishing. she's a full blood serb, so i don't know exactly where the red came from. but i personally just have brown. ^^;
I used to have aqua colored contacts... I have green-grey-light blue eyes... one time, one contact ripped and I had to go the day with 2 different colored eyes, not to mention, half of my vision all day was blurry... they were fun contacts though.
I'm partial to my greenish-greyish-blueish eyes, with lots of freckles and circles inside. I never realized they were so rare! I've oft thought that lavender/violet contacts would be nice, but there's just something about the green...
stephy's eyes sound like mine. I used to wear contacts (non-tinted) until I developed an allergy to them. After going back to glasses, I found I did NOT miss my contacts. Too much hassle taking care of them. Now, if only I was brave enough for Lasik...
You can see a collection of palettes of eye colors here:


These are palettes people have done of their own eye colors, so you can see a small range of eye colors for Colourlovers.
I wonder how genetically similar green eyes that are more brown/yellow are to green eyes that are obviously blue-based.

Being a redhead with green eyes and freckles, of course I hated it when I was younger. Now that I've come to realize I'm a real rarity in this world, I feel much better about it!
I tried a violet contact lens once but couldn't get the other on, and that was the end of my eyes being any other colour but brown. 8D
i have green eyes and i wouldn't change the colour for anything (the ladies love them i'm told).
I have typical dark brown eyes...I used to want purple eyes when I was a bit younger than now. *blush*

My first written character had purple eyes. The next subsequent five or so had purple too. Then I switched to gold. Then green (this is 20% of all people I write, so my own percentages are pretty skewed). I always thought hazel was a light brown, but I think I learned (fairly recently) it's just a sort of mélange of many colours. So my next girl had hazel eyes. The next character will have amber, I'm pretty sure. Someday I may cycle back to brown, but that's me, and therefore hopelessly boring. =P

Despite always wanting some sort of blue eyes I never write people with blue eyes. It's so sad they're disappearing...blue eyes are so pretty.
My mother had the bluest blue eyes. My eye color might be called hazel, except that sometimes they're sort of mossy green and sometimes they're gold. I've been stopped on the street many times over the years by people asking 'what color are your eyes?' or just to say 'Your eyes are so beautiful, like lights (or fire, beacons, glowing...).' I've seen people make their way across a room to tell me about my eyes, which is all the more remarkable because I'm not otherwise glamorous. My new optometrist commented on the unusual color. I thanked her, but really, I have nothing to do with it. Most recently a man came up and said, 'You have GOLDEN eyes, just like my wife!' and said he'd never seen eyes like ours on another human being. Later he came back with his wife, who did have beautiful golden eyes and looked physically like me also, with russet brown hair and fair skin. I've always thought my eyes must appear golden under certain lighting conditions, like when they're lit from the side by a ray of sunlight. Anyway, I'd like to know more about golden eye color.
gaiagraphics, my brother has those very same eyes, the only ones I have ever seen! He also has similar colouring to what you are describing as well. There must be some kind of genetic relationship between those two traits, the hair colour and the eye colour. I think I've read there is a connection between red hair and green eyes, so maybe it can be more specific than that as well.
I have brown eyes and are very proud of them! However I have tryed colour contacts I got Blue, people said it suited me, but looked kinda freakish at the same time, I think it is totally true that your colour eyes are the curtains to your sole, and I think people think differently towards you by the colour of your eyes.
Does anyone know when Colored Contacts first came out?
i was never too fascinated with my eyes either, but as i got older i started to really appreciate them. they are hazel, but if you look at them and compare one looks much more green and the other has more of a gold hue to it. i'm going sometime this week to get my eyes examined for contacts and i am sooo excited, i have always wanted to have a cool green or violet color.
a question though: do they make them where there is a darker outline around ther eye?
where do you get the blue colored contacts for green eyes? i really want eyes like that person with blue eyes in that picture. PLEASE HELP ME!

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