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Circle Lenses: Are They Safe?

It’s no surprise that the latest emerging fashion trend is inspired by Lady Gaga. What’s most surprising about her several looks, however, is which one caught on. Young fashionistas have set out to achieve the doe-eyed look Gaga modeled in her video for “Bad Romance.”

Girls get the look using circle lenses: special colored contacts imported from Asia that make the eyes appear larger because they cover both the iris as well as part of the whites, according to The New York Times.

While Gaga’s eyes were most likely enlarged thanks to the help of technology, girls are still determined to obtain the wide-eyed and innocent look on a daily basis. Circle lenses made their way to American teenagers after becoming popular in Japan, Singapore and South Korea—where young women wear them so that their eyes resemble those of anime characters.

“Circle lenses” are special colored contacts imported from Asia that make the eyes appear larger because they cover both the iris and part of the whites.

Even though it has been illegal to sell contacts without a prescription in the United States since 2005, it is still possible to obtain the lenses. Manufacturers in Asia that make the lenses sell them online for around $20 to $30 per pack, and with the wide variety of colors that the sites offer, the lenses are only made more attractive to potential buyers.

As the popularity of circle lenses spreads and the number of people who wear them increases, it is likely that people will develop eye problems. Without a prescription, using contact lenses of any kind can cause serious eye injury—including blindness. If the lenses are too tight, the eye can become scratched or possibly receive less oxygen, resulting in vision problems, reports the Los Angeles Times. Unfortunately, because of the growing interest in the lenses, girls are more likely to ignore the warnings and wear them regardless.

Whether fashion statement or faux pas, circle lenses are adorning the eyes of more and more girls who want to achieve doll-like eyes. But before you pop them in to hear “my, what big eyes you have,” consider the not-so-attractive side effects.

By Ashleigh Ahern

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