Lady Gaga is one hot property in the music industry right now, and whether it’s her vocals or thanks to her sense of style (think “meat dress”) tweens, teens and even the college aged students are trying to find ways to mimic her style, especially the anime doe-eyed look achieved in her music video “Bad Romance.” Still don’t know what this look is all about? Think “Bratz Dolls.”
But Lady Gaga isn’t the only celebrity to make use of circle contact lenses to achieve a certain look, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and even Robert Pattinson wore them to achieve his “vampire” look in the popular Twilight series movies.
However, tweens and teens are turning to circle contact lens in an effort to achieve the wide eyed look worn by Lady Gaga. But there is nothing new about this fad, it began years ago and gained popularity in South Korea, Japan and Singapore. “In Asia, it’s all about the eyes in makeup,” Phan, a Vietnamese-American who works as Lancôme’s first-ever video makeup artist, told The Times. “They like the whole innocent doll-like look, almost like anime.”
What many of our children don’t know is that even Lady Gaga doesn’t use circle contact lenses, those “big eyes” were achieved through the use of video enhancement.
What are circle contact lenses?
These lenses are not approved by the FDA and are simply “cosmetic” in nature. They are round and extend well beyond the iris of the eye and cover parts of the whites of the eye making eyes appear larger.
Where do kids get circle contact lenses?
As of these products not being approved by the FDA, there is an almost black market shopping spree going on as teens, tweens and college aged students purchase them online. No major contact lens manufacturer in the US sells these lens, they can only be bought online. Children find out where to buy them through message boards, YouTube videos and even websites dedicated to showing you how to wear them and where to purchase them.
In a YouTube video that has been viewed over 9 million times, Lancôme makeup artist Michelle Phan, demonstrates how to get the “crazy, googly Lady Gaga eyes.”
Costs range from $20.00-$30.00 making them a purchase that many girls can afford after just a short time babysitting.
What are the dangers of circle contact lenses?
Wearing contact that have not been fitted properly by a doctor increases the risk of infection. “In some cases, rarely (infections can) can even lead to blindness,” “Consumers risk significant eye injuries – even blindness” if they buy contact lenses on their own, said FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley. This subject was recently addressed on the Dr. Oz show where a panel of physicians warned of the risk of corneal ulcers, scratches or abrasions in the corner of the eye, impairing vision either from the tears or from infection, and depriving the eye of oxygen all can set up the risk of infection and in rare cases, blindness, as a result of using these types of lens.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns, “that people who buy lenses without a consultation from an eye doctor put themselves at risk of serious bacterial infection, or even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss.”
The AAO also advises that anyone who wears contacts; either legal or illegal circle lens and who develop “pain, burning, redness, tearing or sensitivity to light should consult an ophthalmologist.”
Advice for parents about circle contact lenses:
First, talk to your tweens, teens and college aged student about the dangers of using circle contact lens. They may think that they are nothing more serious that colored lenses which so many celebrities and “regular” people are using. However, the dangers are very different.
It may upset some teens and parents may not want to do it, but parents should monitor your child’s computer usage. Check the history and cache for photos, sites, or message boards regarding this topic. You may need to talk to them again.
If you have set up a PayPal account for your child or provide them with a credit card for their use (and they are a minor) you may want to check their transactions report for charges outside the United States or it actually may state “contact lenses” in the subject line or on the invoice.
When taking your children for their annual eye exam request that the doctor discuss circle contact lenses and the dangers associated with them.
Last but not least, should you decide to let your child wear circle contact lenses or should you college aged child be wearing them discuss the dangers with them. Make sure they are properly cared for, stored, cleaned and limit the amount of time that they are warn, especially making sure that they are not slept in. Dr. James Salz, clinical professor of ophthalmology at USC, says that “Ideally, for the circle lenses to be safe – or safer, at least – the manufacturers should offer the contacts in a variety of sizes so that they can properly fit their customers and that; “Sleeping in contact lenses probably increases the risk of infection tenfold because the eye gets less oxygen when you sleep at night, it’s easier for bacteria and infection to breed,” he said.
Statement from the American Academy of Ophthalmology Regarding the Circle Lenses