Contact lenses are no longer just the tedious things used by people who find glasses uncomfortable or inconvenient. While having the option to use prescription contacts has been a godsend for so many people who suffer from impaired vision, the ingenious invention has expanded into much more of a beauty statement that they might once have been intended. They are now available in an array of different colours and can be used to either change up a look or complete a costume or cosplay. This expansion of the original design started with crazy designs from red iris’ through to sclera contact lenses which colour the entire eye. These products were and are more prominently used in the FX makeup world or by those who are drawn to an alternative or statement orientated look. However, in more recent times we have seen these products develop even further to include more natural-looking colours. These include your generic blues, greens and browns, but also other subtle changes such as pale purple and grey contact lenses. These products have been designed for daily use or to allow the wearer to switch up a look whenever they might see fit. Wearers should always be wary of purchasing cheap coloured contacts and ensure that they are not compromising on quality.
With so much variety and opportunity, it is unsurprising that we often see the use of colour contact lenses on the big screen. CGI is on an undeniable rise across most of the film industry, in particular for genres such as fantasy and science fiction. The realistic quality of what can be done with digital images by filmmakers is truly incredible and it has opened up so many avenues, not to mention expanding the makers capacity to bring a life-like feel to the impossible. Where previously we might have seen elaborate costumes and props designed to be as realistic as possible in an endeavour to capture a fantasy scene when watching these older movies, it is hard not to compare them to present-day pieces – that is not to say that there’s not a great deal of beauty and craft that went into old practices. However, there are still some aspects from a bygone era that we have still seen quite regularly in films that have been made in the last decade. Key examples of this include the use of makeup, and you guessed it, contact lenses.
Examples of movies and TV shows we’ve all no doubt seen that utilised Halloween contact lenses include twilight, Westworld, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland and a number of the superhero movies made by DC and Marvel. In Twilight we see the Vampires throughout the saga with inhuman coloured eyes; the Cullens, with their varying shades of amber and black through to those that feast on human blood or have been recently turned with their bright red eyes. Each of these looks has been easily achieved with the aid of coloured contact lenses. The standouts in Westworld and Alice in Wonderland include the use of reflective lenses for Yul Brynner and the mismatched eye contacts coloured worn by Jonny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Many won’t have noticed (I know I didn’t before having it pointed out) but Orlando Bloom’s character in Lord of the Rings, Legolas, has different coloured eyes between movies and even some scenes. This is allegedly due to the actor forgetting to apply the lenses before getting in front of the camera – an easy mistake I’d imagine.
The quality of the lenses worn in the film industry is of a high calibre. Many have sought to purchase the same brands due to their notoriety as much as their durability. Countless Google searches are seeking to know what lenses are worn by the pros. Though like with many other props and products are seen in movies, it is hard to know if you have the real deal or if it’s someone on the internet looking to make money. Thankfully, there has been an increase in regulation with regards to contact lenses, particularly special effects styles that can restrict the oxygen levels in your eyes. In some countries, it is now legally required for you to receive a prescription from an eye doctor even when purchasing non-corrective lenses. This is to determine the fit as well as ensure that the eyes the contacts will be going into are in fit health and wearing them will not cause long term damage. If you are considering investing in some movie star lenses, be it simple purple or yellow cat contact lenses, it is advisable to opt for the higher quality and regulated options.
It isn’t just in the movies we see contact lenses worn; it is also increasingly popular among celebrities. Much like different hair colours or eyeshadow pallets, our reality stars and music extraordinary are also getting on the bandwagon. Everybody’s favourite Friends actor, Jenifer Aniston is known to have her regular contacts tinted blue leaving her fans debating what her natural colour might be – the most common conclusion being that they are brown. Ivanka Trump is also known as a regular user and has been seen to change up her eye colour regularly between her natural brown and striking greens and blues. We wouldn’t be talking about celebrities changing their appearance if we didn’t mention the Kardashian-Jenners. Both Kylie and Kendall have the reputation of using coloured contacts to enhance their natural eye colour and make their eyes pop. Meanwhile, others, (including some of the guys like Orlando Bloom and Kanye West) opt to reserve the change in look for big events and don bright, stand out lenses that make their eyes pop. When talking out their coloured contact lenses, one cannot forget to mention Lady Gaga. An icon in so many forms of fashion for her inspiring if not practical getups, the singer/actor also likes to dabble in the different eye colours, including the variety of the more dramatic and special effects.