Costume contacts have always been a favorite tool of movie costume designers. What makes a werewolf appear like a real monster and not just an actor in a costume? The eyes, of course! The eyes make the entire image seem real and very believable.
But the days when theatrical lenses were available only to movie stars are long gone. Now everybody can get a pair of costume contacts that makes their eyes appear bright and inhuman. The only limit is your imagination.
Many people think of theatrical contact lenses only at Halloween time. But there is no reason why you can’t wear them just for going out to the club. If your eyes look like you just came back from Dune, you can be sure that your appearance won’t go unnoticed.
What are my choices?
There are many costume lenses on the market; the most popular brands are Crazy Lenses, by Cooper Vision, and Wild Eyes, by CibaVision. Both Crazy Lenses and WildEyes offer bright, exciting designs. Their lenses are also comfortable and affordable.
If you type “costume contact lenses” into a Google or Yahoo search, many collections will show up. Some of them offer a great look for a reasonable price. However, you should always bear in mind that most paints are toxic; so some lenses on offer might seem beautiful, but they could also irritate your eyes. It is always best to go with costume contacts produced by major contact lens manufacturers.
And for a particularly magnificent effect, you can get scleral contacts. Unlike ordinary color contact lenses, sclerals cover not only the colored part of your eye but the entire visible portion of your eye. Sclerals create a knock-out effect. The only drawback with scleral contacts is that they are awfully expensive.
You can also get custom-made costume lenses. This way, you can be sure that nobody would have eyes like yours, and you can have any design imaginable.
Do I need a prescription for costume contact lenses?
Most brand name costume contacts come in Plano (no vision correction) as well as with corrective powers. And whether or not you need visual correction, you should ask your eye doctor to fit costume lenses for you. Even if you have perfect vision, it is best to see an optometrist first.
Can I see while wearing theatrical contacts?
Yes, you can. Even though the lens is completely opaque, its center is clear, so you can see. The only exceptions are white-out contacts, which create the effect of blind eyes. In this case, the entire lens is fully opaque so, unless you want to find out how it is to be blind, you should wear a white-out contact lens in one eye only.
Are costume contacts safe?
There are many FDA warnings about the dangers of costume lenses, although the lenses themselves are usually not to blame. Unfortunately, some people wear their costume contacts for several days straight, or put them in without washing their hands first, or swap the lenses with their friends, and then blame the theatrical contacts when they get an eye infection.
The truth is that if you get reputable brand-name costume lenses and take proper care of them, costume contacts are as safe as any other type of contact lens.
Here are 5 simple rules, to keep costume contact lenses safe:
Don’t wear your costume contacts for longer than a few hours
Don’t swap them with other people
Order your lenses from your doctor’s office or a reputable online retailer. Contacts sold in costume shops or flea markets might be of questionable quality.
Have an optometrist fit you with theatrical contacts
Clean your costume lenses properly
How do I take care of my costume lenses?
Novelty contact lenses don’t require any special care; you simply treat them the same way as you would treat any contact lenses.
All you need is a multi-purpose solution and a contact lens case, which you can get in any chemist shop. Rinse your lenses in the solution before inserting them into your eyes, and don’t forget to wash your hands before handling the lenses.
When you’re not using your costume lenses, keep them in the solution, in their case. It is recommended that you change the solution at least once a week if you don’t use them for long periods of time. But who would bother? If you have to wear contacts that have spent a month or so in their case, just give them a double rinse in fresh solution.