Saturday, July 3, 2010

Girls go Gaga over googly eyes, ignore risk

Big, beautiful eyes -- most cultures find them essential to sexiness. Even Cleopatra and her fellow ancients polished their peepers by lining them with kohl, a look popular to this day. Lately, however, young ladies are looking to a different queen for inspiration, HRH of Pop Lady Gaga as she appears in her video "Bad Romance" (above). To achieve the doe-eyed look, the singer dons extra-wide contacts known as "circle lenses." Since the debut late last fall of the video (which also computer enhances the eyes), increasing numbers of American girls have been purchasing the circle lenses in colors as unnatural as bright pink and purple from Asia, where the look has long been popular thanks to characters in anime. The FDA requires that U.S. companies not distribute any contact lens without prescription, a rule international web vendors ignore. The result is that girls from early teens on are sporting the contacts as cavalierly as faux lashes. The problem, opthamologists say, is not only the significant risk from ill-fit but also from the size of the lenses, which significantly restrict the oxygen to the eye surface. (Circle lenses, unlike traditional contacts, extend far beyond the iris.) Both can lead to such serious side effects as blindness. (See the original New York Times article: What Big Eyes You Have) What price beauty? Judging by the popularity of the trend and the number of fan-made how-to videos (including How to Get Lady Gaga Googly Eyes), none too high.