There is always that moment when you look at your favourite anime character and say, “I wish I had eyes like an anime character.” Well the not so new fad of circle lenses allows the wearer to enlarge their eyes through an illusion created by wearing contact lenses that make the pupil appear a larger more funky colour than the normal eye.
Circle lenses have become a huge thing in creating the best final touches to cosplays and have become a part of the transition from normal everyday human to the super kawaii anime character. These lenses first became hugely popular in South Korea when K-pop idols such as Girls Generation, and even boy groups like Vixx, began to wear the lenses in their music videos to create the whole Ulzzang-look (Korean version of the Japanese Kawaii). Since then it’s become a mainstream everyday item throughout Asia for fashionistas, beauty gurus and cosplayers.
Circle lenses never truly became popular in the western world until Lady Gaga brought them to light throughout her Bad Romance music video. But this new form of contact lens took the cosplaying world by storm with the many colour and patterned options out there to create the perfect anime eyes.
For those of you who are new to contact lenses, here are a few tips and tricks about them:
I Have Never Worn Contact Lenses Before
Seeing an eye doctor or going to the opticians and explaining to them that you want to wear fun/party/sclera/circle lenses can sound daunting, but in the end it could help you pick the correct lenses that are safer for your eyes. At this point you will find out the dimensions of your eye, if you need prescription lenses and whether or not it’s safe for you to wear lenses.
Unfortunately not everyone’s eyes are compatible with circle lenses, thus you could run the risk of permanently damaging your eyes by wearing them. Whilst you are there, the optician can also explain and demonstrate the correct way to place and take out the lenses, which can give you peace of mind knowing that you have a trained person guiding you.
Ordering Lenses Online
A lot of people order their lenses from the internet, as they don’t have a lot of other options where they live. If you’re doing this, please make sure that the website you order from is FDA approved. This includes the US, UK and South Korean FDA’s. Personal favourite online stores to buy contact lenses from are Pinky Paradise (where you get a free contact lens case with every purchase) and Geo Lens. There are plenty more websites out there – Google will become your best friend as a cosplayer.
A key note when buying your lenses is to check out the reviews before buying. Some people may have bought the lenses you’re thinking about purchasing and may have found that the colour isn’t as bright as it looks, or that the lenses are a bit rough on their eyes. Also at this point it’s good to check the diameter and if you they come as a prescription (should you need prescription contacts).
Comfort Over Style
Contact lenses are not supposed to be painful. They may feel slightly awkward at first, but over time that “something is in my eye” feeling should disappear. You may also feel a slight sting when you first put your lenses on, as the solution they are kept in can have a small amount of salt content inside, but this fades away pretty fast.
Do not sleep in you lenses. This can have some dire effects to the health of your eyes and can cause some lasting damage to your lenses and your own eyes. Its also not good to be wearing any form of contact lenses when swimming or even napping. Limiting yourself to eight hours a day of wearing is highly recommended. Taking your contact lens case with you and some solution is always recommended, should your eyes get tired and you want to take them out at any point.
If a friend is in awe of your contact lenses and asks to borrow them for their cosplay, politely decline and explain how unhygienic it is. There are all kinds of eye diseases that one person can pass onto the other – it can all get very messy very fast.
When you get your contacts, be sure to check the expiration date on the bottles (once opened contacts can usually last between 9-12 months, but always check the instructions and date first). It’s good to take the lens case you will be using, wash it out with clean cold water, and then fill it to the mark with lens solution. At this point you can then take the lens out of the bottles, wash the old solution off of them with cold water, then place the lenses into your lens container.
It is okay to rinse your lenses in water as long as you soak them in solution directly afterwards. Whilst the water does have microbacteria in it, it rinses off the old solution and any build-up that occurred either in your eye or in the case. However, you need to soak it in fresh solution straight away afterwards to remove anything that was in the water!
How Do I Wear My Contact Lenses?
Step 1: Wash your hands and the area around your eyes. Make sure all surfaces are clean so nothing dirty or bad can slip onto your lens or fingers. Trust me, you will be surprised what can get stuck on a lens from the container to your eye ball.
Step 2: Very gently remove the lens from the container using your now clean finger, making sure not to damage the lens in any way. Check the lens is the right side out, checking that the colour and design is on the outside and the faded side pointing inwards.
Step 3: To get rid of excess solution (the liquid can really sting your eyes) pass the lens back and forth from your clean fingers.
Step 4: With the contact still on your dominant index finger (in my case its my right index finger), lightly pull your top eyelid upwards with your other hand.
Step 5: Looking straight ahead, place the contact lens directly onto your eye ball and allow it to stick – you should feel a slight suction of the contact lens hitting the eyeball.
Step 6: Once in place blink your eyelids a few times to settle the contact lens, and check its position. There you have it, one contact lens is now in place!
Be sure to carry some eye drops that can rehydrate your eyes and contact lenses, as they can make your eyes feel dry or move around. Keeping them moist will allow for a better experience with them.
To remove the lens, gently squeeze the lens between your index finger and thumb and it should pop out very simply. Be sure to give it a rinse in clean cold water and then place it back into your lens solution and seal the container shut.
There are no rules out there stating that every cosplayer should change the colour of their eyes to have the perfect cosplay (a lot of people don’t like touching their eyes). Contact lenses are just another accessory that can boost your portrayal of the character, an additional touch. Failing that, there is always Photoshop.
I have personally worn a plethora of contact, sclera, and circle lenses for a multitude of cosplays and events. I have never thought of them as a key element to my costuming, but I recognise that they do give your cosplay that extra special something. I also feel I can get into the character faster as well.
For those of you who have been wondering whether or not to use contacts, and the processes around them, I hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions or tips and tricks of your own that you would like answered or shared, then please feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it might be featured in a future article.