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Cosmetic contact lenses are increasingly popular because of their eye enhancing cosmetic benefits. The pigment particles used in these lenses can impact lens surface characteristics. This article examines the surface characteristics and the differences between the clear and the pigmented regions among five limbal ring design lenses.Scanning electron microscopy was used to determine the location and depth of the pigment particles from the lens surface. The coefficient of friction (CoF) was determined with a Basalt-MUST microtribometer at clear and pigmented regions on either the front or the back surface. Atomic force microscopy was used to determine the surface roughness of each lens in root-mean-square (RMS) units at clear and pigmented regions. A linear mixed model for repeated measures was used for the analysis of the CoF and RMS roughness to compare all lenses.Four lens types had pigments exposed on the surface and one lens type had pigment fully enclosed. The CoF difference between clear and pigmented regions were similar and not statistically significant (P=0.0124) for the lens type with pigments enclosed, whereas the CoF difference for the other four lens types showed statistically significant difference (P<0.0001).Of the lenses tested here, cosmetic contact lenses with pigments enclosed in the lens matrix provided a more consistent surface between clear and pigmented regions compared with lenses that had exposed pigments.