The latest fad to sweep the teen fashion world might do more than make them look ridiculous. Inspired by Lady Gaga, circle contact lenses are all the rage, giving girls large, anime-looking eyes similar to the computer-enhanced look sported by Ms. Gaga in her “Bad Romance” video.
But according to experts, these lenses are not only illegal, they are dangerous.
Colored contacts are nothing new. I wore doctor-prescribed, aqua-colored lenses for a brief period in my twenties. What sets these lenses apart is that they come in unusual colors like pink and violet and cover not only the iris of the eye, but part of the white as well. This larger lens give the wearer a doe-eyed and somewhat cartoonish look.
But while they are popular to the point of being mainstream in Japan, Singapore and South Korea, they have only just recently found their way to the U.S. Thanks to videos such as this one, in which viewers are instructed on how to achieve “crazy, googly Lady Gaga eyes,” American teens have jumped on the bandwagon. And despite the fact that it is illegal in the U.S. to sell contact lenses without a prescription, they are easily available online to anyone willing to shell out $20 to $30 for a pair.
So, what’s the harm in wearing these unusual contact lenses? According to Dr. S. Barry Eiden, optometrist and chairman of the contact lens and cornea section of the American Optometric Association, contact lenses that are not properly fitted to the individual can deprive the eye of oxygen and lead to serious vision problems.
Karen Riley, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration is more direct in warning of the dangers of contact lenses purchased without a prescription: “Consumers risk significant eye injuries — even blindness.”
Women have been torturing themselves in the name of fashion for ages, so it is no surprise that they would risk eye injury and even blindness to achieve a certain look. But considering the fact that this fad is particularly popular with teen girls, one has to wonder why parents would allow them to wear them. Based on the photo above, it certainly can’t be that they just haven’t noticed.
More from this author: