Brown is the most common eye color in the world, while lighter options like green, gray, hazel, and amber are less common. Does that mean you’re stuck with what you were born with? Not necessarily.
You get your eye color from a combination of your parents’ genes. Due to possible genetic variations, it’s entirely possible to have different-colored eyes from your parents. But what if you aren’t satisfied with what nature gave you?
The genetic lottery doesn’t have to keep you from the eye color of your dreams as there are plenty of options to change your eye color. So keep reading to find out how to change eye color.
The Nature of Eye Color Genetics
The iris is the colored portion of the eyes. Genetics determine the iris color. However, slight shifts of light or age may change the color slightly.
Usually, though, the eye color a person is born with is the one they will keep throughout life. It’s likely that the irises darken a little over the first few years of life, but that’s typically the only major change.
Possible natural iris colors include:
Additionally, it is possible to have a mixture of these colors to form different shades. These differing shades tend to be classified by the general colors, though.
Furthermore, though it’s rare, it’s also possible to have two different-colored irises. The condition, heterochromia, may affect both irises completely. Another version of heterochromia leaves a person with two iris colors in the same eye.
How to Change Eye Color Temporarily
One of the most popular ways to change your eye color is to use contacts. Shift your natural shade in minutes by popping in different lenses or find unique ones that make a statement.
If you want to use this temporary solution, first you need to decide which type of lens to buy. There are generally three types of lenses to choose from.
These lenses are exactly what they sound like. They are solid-colored contacts with no transparency. Opaque contacts are a good option if you want to change your eye color completely like going from dark brown to light grey.
Some of the most popular opaque color lenses include:
There are also variations on these colors that are more vibrant and pigmented. They are fashion colors, though, and aren’t meant to pass as natural. So if you don’t mind eye-popping color, you may want to check out hues not found naturally in humans.
Want a subtle change? Getting enhancement lenses may be your best option. Rather than the solid colors that opaque contacts give, these are semi-transparent. These lenses help define the edges of your iris and may also give your natural color an extra pop.
If you want to give your natural eye color a slight shade variation, you may want to get these contacts. Visibility lenses have faint flecks of light blue or green. They don’t change your eye color, but they can accentuate your natural one.
4. Decorative Lenses
Additionally, you may also look into plano contacts or decorative lenses. These lenses are typically used as costume or fashion accessories. You may buy plano contacts online or at local stores, however, the American Optometric Association stresses caution when buying lenses retail.
The FDA classifies contact lenses, including decorative ones, as medical devices. However, getting lenses without a prescription may be risky. You may increase your chances of buying unsanitary or defective lenses. In turn, these lenses may increase your risk of:
- vision loss
- corneal abrasion
- blurry vision
- allergic reactions like itchy, watery eyes
Call your doctor if you exhibit any of these signs after wearing contact lenses:
- discharge from the eyes
- slight vision loss
- eye redness
- persistent eye pain
These symptoms may be indicative of an eye infection. Eye infections are serious and may even lead to blindness if left untreated.
How to Change Eye Color Permanently
What if you want the change to be permanent? If you’re wondering how to change eye color permanently, surgery may be an option. However, it’s not legal in the United States.
This type of surgery was first used to treat medical conditions and traumatic eye injuries. In this surgery, an artificial iris is laid over the natural iris.
Some people choose to have this surgery for cosmetic reasons. However, research shows that this implant surgery comes with many risks. Some complications associated with this surgery include:
- Vision loss and blindness
- cornea injury
- eye inflammation called uveitis
- corneal edema
There is very little evidence to prove that this cosmetic iris implant surgery is effective or even safe. Furthermore, regulatory agencies in the United States have not evaluated the procedure, nor have they conducted clinical trials. Consequently, you have to travel outside the country for this procedure.
If you want to make your brown eyes blue, there’s another controversial practice to change it permanently. The process uses a low-energy laser to remove the stroma, an interlaced layer of tissue in the iris. Clinical trials for this technique are currently underway and not available to the public.
There are a few ways to permanently change your eye color. But before you get your hopes up about surgery, you should know that the chances of it being legal in the United States are slim. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warned that this controversial surgery can be dangerous back in 2014.
So what are your options when it comes to how to change eye color? Stick with temporary solutions. Contact lenses come with its own risks, but those risks don’t compare to the serious complications you may open yourself up to with iris surgery.
Lastly, changing eye color temporarily may be easy, but remember to use hygienic practices when handling your lenses. Also, get a prescription so you can reduce the risk of getting defective or opened contact lenses.