I’ve been keeping a little secret from everyone, but in the name of beauty I’m finally ready to fess up: My emerald-green eyes, which have been earning me endless compliments over the last ten years (that I’ve so humbly accepted), are actually thanks to tinted contact lenses. To set the record straight, these weren’t the intensely pigmented lenses that can transform dark-brown irises into a deep shade of ocean blue (or gray, like Selena Gomez’s at the American Music Awards). They were lightly tinted, giving my hazel eyes a faint green filter—that is, until they were discontinued. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered my favorite lenses were gone forever, threatening to expose my little secret. But thanks to a new kind of eye-enhancing lenses called Acuvue Define, I didn’t stay sad for long.
Acuvue Define aren’t technically tinted contact lenses, so I was worried that they wouldn’t offer the same bright-eyed results. What they aim to do, rather, is enhance the perimeter of the iris, which is called the limbal ring. “At birth, the limbal ring is defined and crisp, but it fades over time due to the natural aging process,” says New York City ophthalmologist Susan Resnick. Think of it like the real-life version of Instagram’s sharpen filter. “A defined limbal ring provides a clean and clear distinction between the iris and the sclera (the medical term for the white of the eye)—giving the effect of a brighter, whiter sclera—and ultimately leads to a lively, healthier-looking eye.” And you’d be surprised what this seemingly subtle change does to your overall look. A week after I switched to the Define lenses, no one had commented on the fact that my eyes looked darker and less green (phew). They did, however, notice that something was different. Some people asked if I’d filled in my brows differently or if I’d changed the way I did my eye shadow. No one could pinpoint what I had actually changed about my appearance.
“Research shows that people are more attracted to men and women with defined limbal rings as they are associated with a healthy and youthful appearance,” says Resnick. These lenses do that and a little bit extra. In addition to sharpening the limbal ring, they are also able to enhance the irises—not through color, but through something much subtler. “The lenses feature iris-inspired designs that have light-effect patterns, so they add depth and dimension without changing the eye’s natural coloring,” says Resnick. They are available in three effects: Natural Sparkle (to brighten), Natural Shimmer (to highlight and sharpen), and Natural Shine (to add contrast). The three effects uniquely complement the iris pattern. “Since the iris is unique (like a fingerprint) and no two person’s look the same, the lens will look different on everyone,” says Resnick. I’ve been wearing both the Sparkle and Shimmer lenses and still can’t decide which I like more. The Sparkle has hints of green that help bring me back to the days of my emerald eyes (but to a much softer degree), however the Shimmer lenses make my eyes appear so crisp, they stand out in an almost otherworldly way. Want to find your best match? “I recommend starting with Natural Sparkle and working your way to Natural Shine until the desired result is achieved,” says Resnick. Try it—I dare you. You really won’t believe your eyes.
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