Fashion Contact Lenses: Is Beauty Worth the Risk?

Fashion contact lenses are fast becoming a popular Asian beauty fad. Many young women especially teenagers across Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China are sporting that cute dole-eyed look. Big eyes (or bigger eyes) never fail to make a pretty girl prettier. But some girls take the look too far appearing cartoon-like and some even…zombie-like.

It started a few years ago with the rising trend of anime-styled look. A beauty accessory to achieve the look is the circle contact lenses, also known as the big-eyed lenses. They make the eye’s iris look instantly larger. You can get tinted ones on the outer rims of the lenses for that extra-large dimension creating an illusion of super big eyes.

The problem is: like most countries, it is illegal in Singapore for companies to sell contact lenses directly to consumers. Companies can only supply contact lenses to registered and qualified persons such as licensed optometrists, who can then prescribe, supply and dispense contact lenses to the consumer. Most people consider circle lenses (even with prescription degree) to be a fashion accessory, rather than a medical device. So many women have resorted to buying these beauty lenses online.

If you go online today, the range of decorative contact lenses makes circle contact lenses seem elementary. You can choose from cat-eye designs, smiley faces to checkered patterns. Even Hello Kitty designer contact lenses are catching on! Whatever design girls are choosing to buy and wear, these fashion contact lenses are screaming for attention. After the initial woo-waas, I wonder how these novelty lenses affect a person’s eye health. Remember, these fashion contact lenses do not correct vision. They just change the appearance of the eye.

Unfortunately the way in which these lenses are made available as a one-size-fits-all and available for purchase online, it is bound for potential eye health complications. Everybody’s eyes are not equal; some have steeper curves on the cornea and some are larger or smaller. Even your left eye is may not be equal to your right eye!

Wrong size contact lenses can cause poor vision, discomfort and potential cornea scratching. These scratches can cause eye allergic reactions and cornea infection. Dr Assumpta Madu, a New York-based doctor has said “There is literally a potential for someone to lose their vision in 24 hours from an infection”. Tightly-fitted lenses also suffocate the eye from oxygen. If left untreated, abnormal blood vessels can grow through the line of sight. All of which can result in permanent vision impairment.

Like most girls, I super love the high definition, fairy-tinted dole-eye look. I am sure I can make myself appear like the perfect Japanese anime beauty that is every boy/man’s fantasy in real life.

Unless I can get a pair custom-made to suit the curvature of my eyeballs and in the kind of breathable quality that normal contact lenses are made from (all of which is impossible), this form of special-effect beauty is not worth losing my eyesight over.


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