Circle Lenses: Cute or Creepy?
Asia is famous for starting beauty trends that spread to many countries worldwide, and Asian beauty trends are known for being both unique and revolutionary. One of these beauty trends that is becoming rapidly popular in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam is the circle contact lens.
What are circle lenses and how do they work?
A circle lens is a colored contact lens (usually available in both prescription and non-prescription varieties) that is very much like a normal colored lens, except that the color extends to outside the iris. This is to make the iris look larger than it actually is, and the result is that eyes appear bigger and shinier. This tends to make users look very cute and doll-like with large, glassy eyes.
Circle lenses originated from South Korea and became very popular with internet “ulzzangs,” a Korean term that literally means “best-face.” (Ulzzangs are males and females with very beautiful and refined faces who post pictures of themselves on the internet. Some ulzzangs can gain thousands of fans and even become celebrities just by having a good-looking face.) In the Asian standard of beauty, the focus is all in the eyes, and having large, innocent-looking eyes is very much sought-after not only in Korea, but in Japan, Taiwan, and other Asian countries as well, where an estimated 40% of girls wear circle lenses for cosmetic purposes only.
Are circle lenses safe?
Circle lenses, while originally only popular in Asia, have become a widespread trend among beauty addicts all over the planet. Many who are looking to make their eyes look bigger can purchase circle lenses for under $20 from many online sites who will export circle lenses from Korea or Japan. Larger brands of circle lenses like GeoMagic or NeoVision are health-approved in their native countries, but the problem lies in the fact that circle lenses are, for the most part, not health-approved in Western countries.
It is illegal to sell circle lenses in the United States, and many American doctors have voiced concerns over the fact that Asian sites make prescription lenses so readily available without a proper prescription signed by a valid doctor. This, however, does not stop circle lens addicts from buying lenses online.
A common misconception about circle lenses is that they physically cover a larger portion of the eye and will, therefore, prevent oxygen from being delivered to the eye. The reality is that 90% of circle lenses are the exact same physical diameter of legally-sold colored lenses in the U.S., most measuring in at a 14 mm diameter. What makes circle lenses different from colored lenses is that the colored portion takes up almost the entire lens, whereas regular colored lenses contain the pigment to only the area that covers the iris. Another large difference between circle lenses and normal colored lenses is the wear-time. Because the pigment in circle lenses covers the entire lens, it is recommended to not wear circle lenses more than 8 hours a day, whereas extended-wear contact lenses can be worn for a full 16-24 hours. Finally, the last major difference is the change-interval. Most circle lenses are only available in yearly-doses, which can pose hygiene problems if not well cared for.
The bottom line is that, like all regular contact lenses, circle lenses have their own rules which, when followed carefully, make circle lenses no less safe than regular colored contact lenses.
Circle lenses are available to buy at websites such as LensCircle.com, PinkyParadise.com, and HoneyColor.com. Popular brands include GeoMagic, NeoVision, and E.O.S.
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