Contact lenses can change your eye color – even transform your appearance – and now, a new lens is promising to make you look younger.
Contact lens brand Acuvue's new "Define" beauty lens aims to "hide" the aging process that affects the dark circle around the iris of the eye.
The dark ring is called the limbal ring and as we get older, it fades and becomes less defined.
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"It's part of the natural aging process. It's kind of like getting grey hair," said Dr. Sylvia Hargrave, chief of ophthalmology at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
A 2011 study out of the University of California at Irvine found the bigger and blacker the limbal ring, the more attractive the eyes.
Psychologists say people unconsciously judge how young someone is based on the size and shade of their limbal rings.
The "Define" lens line gives the wearer bigger, more defined, vibrant eyes by covering up the aging limbal ring, but doctors warn consumers should weigh the risks before wearing contacts lenses for cosmetic purposes.
Risks include infections that could lead to permanent damage to the cornea, if lenses aren't used properly.
Wearers should also purchase lenses from reputable retailers.
"There are many sites out there that won't require a prescription, and those sites you have to be very skeptical about because the contact lenses may not be FDA-approved," said Hargrave. "I've seen some patients that have purchased Halloween contacts online without a prescription. They ended up with a severe fungal infection and almost lost the eye."
To obtain the beauty lenses the proper way, you must see an eye professional for an exam and a prescription, even if you don't need contact lenses with vision correctness, called plano (non-prescription).
"It's very, very important to make sure you get a prescription and make sure whoever you're buying it from requires a prescription," said Hargrave.
A 30-day supply costs around $40 at most major retailers.