Lady Googly Eyes

by Intern Brittany J.

Lady Gaga is supposedly to blame for the slow rise of a new trend concerning the “big eye” look she showed off in the video for ‘Bad Romance.’ While the look seems to have originated in anime and manga, it can’t be denied that The Gaga would naturally be the one to bring it to the forefront, trendsetter that she is. (I’m personally waiting for a video in which she sneezes with her eyes open and heads start exploding across America.)

The look is brought on by circle contact lenses, which cover part of the sclera, or whites of the eyes, with a small, usually darker ring past where the iris normally ends. The wearer ends up looking doe-eyed and childlike…which is deemed attractive. (Which I have to say scares me a bit.) Though the use of these contacts seems to have spread to the US, they are most used in circles of Ulzzang Girls in Korea and other East Asian countries. Ulzzangs tend to use circle lenses and even eyelid glue to give themselves the look of big-eyed anime characters, and sometimes even specifically Lady Gaga herself. (Check out the definition on Urban Dictionary for multiple opinions on Ulzzangs…doesn’t sound too far from some purely American trends these days…)

Health risks are popping up all over the place. Since these contacts aren’t fitted properly, too loose or too tight and there could be scratches to the cornea. The most notable risk is the potential for blindness due to infection, even as soon as 24 hours after wearing them. Eek.

It is technically illegal in the US to purchase contact lenses without a prescription and thus it is difficult to find them. The next place to turn is the internet, of course, and YouTube tutorials and forums dedicated to the contacts are becoming more common. This is where people are spreading the word on where to find the contacts. Companies know it is illegal to ship them here, but don’t think they are really causing any harm. Not yet, I suppose.

I’m not particularly fond of the idea of sticking some random object in or around my eyes, but I’m curious about your opinion. Do any of you wear these? Experience issues? Come into contact (ha ha) with negative reactions? Do ya just love ‘em? Think they’re creepy? Let us know in the comments below.

In the meantime, here’s the most popular video (with over 9.6 million hits!) for achieving the look right now, in case you’re curious:

[video: 425×344]

[photo: New York Times; info: New York Times, ABC, CBS]

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