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The combination of Anime and American teenagers has produced a number of things we might be better off without.  The suffixes –chan, –hime, and the word baka used without discrimination, not to mention an extensive new genre of slash fanfiction, and now: dangerous contact lenses.

The New York Times reports on a new trend among young girls in America: circle lenses.

Lady Gaga’s wider-than-life eyes [from the Bad Romance video] were most likely generated by a computer, but teenagers and young women nationwide have been copying them with special contact lenses imported from Asia. Known as circle lenses, these are colored contacts — sometimes in weird shades like violet and pink — that make the eyes appear larger because they cover not just the iris, as normal lenses do, but also part of the whites.

Some girls are wearing them every day, like “mascara or eyeliner.”  The problem is… they’re illegal to sell in the US and many doctors think that they are harmful to the eyes. The eyes that are wearing them, we mean.

The New York Times noted that it is against the law to sell contact lenses in the US without a prescription, and that mail order contact companies are required to verify that customers are ordering the strength of lens that is healthiest for them, neither of which are things that circle lens sites do.

A spokesperson for the F.D.A told the New York Times:

“Consumers risk significant eye injuries — even blindness” when they buy contact lenses without a valid prescription or help from an eye professional.

And Dr. S. Barry Eiden, an optometrist more familiar with the trend,

said that people selling circle lenses online “are encouraging the avoidance of professional care.” He warned that ill-fitting contact lenses could deprive the eye of oxygen and cause serious vision problems.

But the trend lives.  One 19-year-old student said she thought the idea of putting the things in her eyes was a little sketchy… until she saw “so many girls out there wearing them.”  She now considers herself an addict.

For a scary introduction to exactly what they look like, see makeup artist Michelle Phan‘s YouTube tutorial on how to look like Lady Gaga in Bad Romance.

An aside: Don’t worry, guys.  I also find the above video kind of terrifying.  Granted, I don’t think this is the sort of thing anyone would do every day, as the women in the New York Times article seem to.  This is more a costume than an outfit, if you follow me.

But I digress.

Girls.  Girls.  Forget about spending $20-30 dollars on prosthesis that can cause “significant eye injuries — even blindness.”  Even Michelle Phan, whose video has more than 9.5 million views, knows.  Do it in Photoshop.  It takes five minutes, and you’re on your way to learning a trade that will serve you well in today’s digital economy.  Hopefully.

(picture via The New York Times.)


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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.