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Personally, I'm Holding Out for the "Sauron" Lens
July 3, 2010 1:31 PM   Subscribe

The New York Times reports that anime-style "Circle" (or "Big Eye") lenses are currently gaining in popularity, thanks to Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video.

Circle, or "Big Eye" contact lenses have been available from online retailers since 2008. They create an anime-style "Eoljjang" (or "Ulzzang") look for the wearer by making the iris of the eye appear larger.

Previously on Metafilter: background on the Korean ulzzang trend.

Per the NYTimes link:
These lenses might be just another beauty fad if not for the facts that they are contraband and that eye doctors express grave concern over them. It is illegal in the United States to sell any contact lenses — corrective or cosmetic — without a prescription, and no major maker of contact lenses in the United States currently sells circle lenses.
posted by zarq (59 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neoteny plays a role in sexual selection? Color me shocked!
posted by leotrotsky at 1:46 PM on July 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you are ordering white cosplay lenses with black rims from PinkyParadise in Malaysia...you're doing it right!
posted by kozad at 1:48 PM on July 3, 2010


Were I to meet someone wearing a pair of these, my first question would be "how high are you right now?"
posted by pyrex at 1:48 PM on July 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


People are putting fashion ahead of health? *dies of shock*
posted by Canageek at 1:49 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Karen Riley, a spokeswoman for the F.D.A., was a bit surprised, too. When first contacted last month, she did not know what circle lenses were or the extent to which they had caught on. Soon after, she wrote in an e-mail message, “Consumers risk significant eye injuries — even blindness” when they buy contact lenses without a valid prescription or help from an eye professional.
Remember when the FDA was about protecting the public health instead of profits? It would be nice to see some epidemiological studies before starting the moral panic. Note that the danger, the horror, the shock and the terror is the hook of the story and there isn't even a single flakey anecdote?

My God, you could put your eye out with those!

Oh, well. It is the 4th of July weekend and who wants to be stuck in a hot newsroom writing about stupid chick fads?

I'll shut up now.
posted by warbaby at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can't believe that I choose to be born on this planet.

What the FUCK was I thinking
posted by Avenger at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hawt.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:54 PM on July 3, 2010


ಠ_ಠ
posted by Rhaomi at 2:00 PM on July 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


Yay! The mosters in my nightmares will have new eyes. I can see how they could be cute, but I really think they're just creepy.

Were I to meet someone wearing a pair of these, my first question would be "how high are you right now?"

Really? Not "How high am I right now?"
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:02 PM on July 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


How about no.
posted by jquinby at 2:05 PM on July 3, 2010


neoteny and its attractiveness (and the "women" who emphasize it with their high pitched girly voices, squeals and giggles even when mothers of young adolescents) irk me.

grar grar grumble and get off my lawn
posted by infini at 2:08 PM on July 3, 2010


It would be nice to see some epidemiological studies before starting the moral panic. Note that the danger, the horror, the shock and the terror is the hook of the story and there isn't even a single flakey anecdote?

That's what I'm wondering here, too. I don't remember people freaking out when goth kids started buying these things buy the barrel after Marilyn Manson popularized them. I occasionally still run into kids with the lizard eye lenses, and at cons, the heterochromia is pretty popular, too. It's a neat look, I think, and sure, I can accept that there are probably risks entailed in putting things on your eyeballs. I've just never encountered anyone running into any serious problems with these beyond "argh my eyes sting", at which point they're removed anyway with the hopes the rest of the costume will make up for it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:14 PM on July 3, 2010


Rules for Posting #1: never pass up a chance to cross reference Lady Gaga
posted by squeakyfromme at 2:16 PM on July 3, 2010


Heh.. I'm DJing at an anime convention in 3 weeks. I'm soooo tempted.
posted by empath at 2:17 PM on July 3, 2010


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

Riiight. You should buy the exact same product with a valid prescription from an expensive doctor's visit.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:17 PM on July 3, 2010


nice to see some epidemiological studies before starting the moral panic

The NY Times article is horrible. Its basis is a single sentence from an FDA spokeswoman who, by the NY Times's own admission, hadn't even heard of the lenses a month ago.
posted by event at 2:18 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


neoteny and its attractiveness (and the "women" who emphasize it with their high pitched girly voices, squeals, giggles and their use of barbie as their user pic even when mothers of young adolescents) irk me.

*cough*
posted by stavrogin at 2:20 PM on July 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Contact lenses are no joke, btw. I can't wear them regularly any more because of bad habits and laziness, I stretched out my last order of disposable lenses by wearing them too long, and then didn't go in to get my prescription renewed on schedule -- meanwhile, lack of oxygen to my eyes had caused my eyes to start growing new blood vessels into the iris, and I didn't know about it. I went to an eye doctor in time, so it didn't severely impact my vision, but I could have gone blind if I hadn't stopped wearing them.

Caused by my own responsibility, yes, but when the FDA says wear them with the supervision of a doctor, they say it for a reason. Even if there is only a small chance of something going wrong, this isn't an infected earlobe we're talking about, this is your vision.

I'm sure wearing these every once in a while isn't a problem, but I definitely would make sure you go to eye appointments regularly if you're wearing contacts regularly.
posted by empath at 2:24 PM on July 3, 2010 [21 favorites]


Asymmetrical face.
posted by zinfandel at 2:26 PM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


PS, you can get this look much more cheaply by taking LSD.
posted by empath at 2:27 PM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rules for Posting #1: never pass up a chance to cross reference Lady Gaga

I must be doing Metafilter wrong. This is the only FPP I've ever made (out of 122) which references her.
posted by zarq at 2:31 PM on July 3, 2010


Interesting information, empath. Thanks for that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:34 PM on July 3, 2010


These girls need to quit with the robitussin.
posted by cmoj at 2:34 PM on July 3, 2010


But do the eye spots deter predators?
posted by klangklangston at 2:38 PM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Avenger -- exactly. I read this story and thought -- another piece of evidence in the case against the survival of the human species. It's the next step past Latisse (tm).

Also -- um -- why is it not-hip to be concerned about the quality of products that people put in thEIR EYEBALLLS?
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 2:41 PM on July 3, 2010


So, not enough about Lady Gaga recently? What can we say? Well, there was that video where she sort of had funny eyes. Google it and see if you can buy contacts that make your eyes look funny. Yes! She didn't actually wear them? What the fuck, near enough. Oh but also they've been available for decades? No it's OK, though - there's a new style that came out only two years ago - alright it was two years ago, but work with me here: she's made them more popular right? Still a bit thin? Ring up the FDA and see if we can get a negative quote. They've never heard of them and don't know what we're talking about? Come on FDA, isn't there a standard line about never doing anything without professional advice? You know? Yeah, that'll do. Gaga anime youth blindness scandal! Oh - can we get the Internet in there somewhere? Can people buy these things online? Of course they can. OK we're good: Internet Gaga anime blindness shock horror! I love being a journalist.
posted by Phanx at 2:48 PM on July 3, 2010 [18 favorites]


My dog has been doing this for years... asymmetrical face
posted by HuronBob at 3:03 PM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


"In the 16th and 17th centuries, women used eyedrops made of belladonna (also known as deadly nightshade) to dilate their pupils. But while it had the desired effect of making their eyes look dewy, interested, and excited, the drops also robbed these women of the normal pupil-shrinking reflex that keeps bright light away from the delicate retina. Modern experts believe that by continuously dilating their pupils, these women might have predisposed themselves to the potentially blinding eye condition of glaucoma."

'The Price of Perfection,' by Robin Marantz Henig; National Association of Science Writers
posted by Haruspex at 3:40 PM on July 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hey, guys! There's this new (old) thing that I thought up after I watched a Betty Boop cartoon!
posted by P.o.B. at 3:40 PM on July 3, 2010


They're uncanny!
posted by tybeet at 3:53 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also after watching the video I get a very strong impression that the message has to do with the objectification of women. In which case, the irony of this trend is dripping.
posted by tybeet at 3:55 PM on July 3, 2010


I can't believe that I choose to be born on this planet.

What the FUCK was I thinking


it's something like the astral equivalent of getting way too drunk and waking up with a tattoo of hello kitty on your chest

shit happens
posted by pyramid termite at 5:04 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=%22contact+lens%22+risk+amoeba+cornea&as_sdt=20000000000&as_ylo=2009&as_vis=1

You're sure that you can trust the people who made these to have been using the best practice sterile conditions, and you know you're going to follow the best possible practices yourself keeping everything squeaky clean, so isn't it good to know in detail what you're avoiding by your good common sense?

Want pictures?
http://tisham-creativenest.blogspot.com/2010/01/common-contact-lens-complications.html
posted by hank at 5:15 PM on July 3, 2010


Want pictures?

Not particularly, no. I'll take "LINKS THAT PROBABLY CAN'T BE UNSEEN" for $1000, Alex.
posted by zarq at 5:53 PM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


In Hong Kong, this trend was very popular with teenaged girls, who wore them in everyday life (on their way to school, grocery shopping.) I can't believe that among all the girls that I saw, none of them needed any correction, so I have to believe that they come from a legitimate, certified source.
posted by typewriter at 5:56 PM on July 3, 2010


If I never read another "article" from the NY Times "Style" and "Fashion" section I swear to all that's good and holy in world it will be far, far too soon.
posted by smoke at 6:31 PM on July 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


This reminds me of the Simpsons episode set in the future where Lisa is president. Homer is wearing heavy black glasses, and makes reference to everyone being shocked when, ten years after Lasik surgery, everyone's eyes fell out.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:43 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


These things have been super popular on sites like gaiaonline.com and such for years, the pop mainstream exposure with Gaga only really brings this to light. I personally knew people in high school in 2001/2ish who had pairs, getting them prescription strength is new to me though...
posted by darlingmagpie at 7:41 PM on July 3, 2010


counterpoint.
posted by boo_radley at 7:41 PM on July 3, 2010


I must be doing Metafilter wrong. This is the only FPP I've ever made (out of 122) which references her.

You're not the only one referencing her though, and there's a sort of Lady Gaga fatigue around here among some members.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:00 PM on July 3, 2010


Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm(cough couch retch cough)mmmmmmeeehhh.

Mega Meh.

Get back to me when Lady Gaga introduces anime masked TG cosplay as part of modern western fashion.

Serious, the Japanese are perpetually ten years over the Fetish Horizon compared to the US. We need a government sponsored program to close the Kink Gap. Preferably with something well-lubricated.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:05 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just sayin'.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:40 PM on July 3, 2010


You're not the only one referencing her though...

I'm aware.

...and there's a sort of Lady Gaga fatigue around here among some members.

If I were to use 'topic fatigue' as criteria to determine whether I should or shouldn't create FPPs, my post count would still be at zero. We're not going to be running out of cynical threadshitters any time soon, after all.
posted by zarq at 10:49 PM on July 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Whew. Thanks, New York Times! I always wanted a pair of these, but couldn't be bothered to find the best and most legitimate website to order them from! Your article has given me some reputable direction in my quest.
posted by redsparkler at 11:44 PM on July 3, 2010


neoteny and its attractiveness (and the "women" who emphasize it with their high pitched girly voices, squeals, giggles and their use of barbie as their user pic even when mothers of young adolescents) irk me.

*cough*


that was a JOKE ;p and besides that's computer programmer barbie

*goes to dig up some new pix bah humbug*
posted by infini at 12:01 AM on July 4, 2010


Funny. I used to read anguished missives about East Asian women cutting up their eyelids to be "more Western". Now it's Western women cramming non-prescription lenses in to look "More Asian".
posted by rodgerd at 1:17 AM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funny. I used to read anguished missives about East Asian women cutting up their eyelids to be "more Western". Now it's Western women cramming non-prescription lenses in to look "More Asian".

I think the big-eyed anime look originated from western eyelids being open wider, so it's perhaps more that Westerners are trying to look more like what Asians think Westerners look like :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:34 AM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait for the inevitable panic about razor blade glasses.
posted by benzenedream at 10:01 AM on July 4, 2010


I think the big-eyed anime look originated from western eyelids being open wider, so it's perhaps more that Westerners are trying to look more like what Asians think Westerners look like :)

Please, anyone who actually thinks this, watch this video. Thanks.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:34 PM on July 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


The image used in that video for "Asians don't always have small eyes" is kinda misleading, don't you think? I'm sure if our squinty-eyed white senators used lots of eyeliner and mascara, their eyes would appear bigger, too.
posted by rubah at 1:33 PM on July 4, 2010


Marisa - the video didn't indicate one way or the other where and why the eye style developed, it was concerned with whether anime characters look white.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:19 PM on July 4, 2010


Marisa - the video didn't indicate one way or the other where and why the eye style developed, it was concerned with whether anime characters look white.

The video's point - especially with regards to the eyes - was that the "big-eyed anime characters look Caucasian" is just pretty much how it looks to a lot of Westerners, on top of the fact that plenty of Westerners have "squinty" eyes, plenty of Asians - among other types of people around the world - have "big" eyes, and that in fact, Westerners in anime are usually depicted as having narrow eyes. In other words, no, the big-eyed style did not originate from artists trying to make their characters look Caucasian. It's just a style of drawing that, to the vast majority of anime fans in Asia, looks Asian.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:41 PM on July 4, 2010


You're still assuming it did not originate from the western fad - there isn't anything in the video supporting that. I'm not of the view that anime characters look white, or that big eyes can't look Japanese, that didn't occur to me until I saw the video wanting to debunk it. I'm wondering if the style of eyes doesn't have roots in styles influenced by western eyes, the same way people would have surgery because they were influenced by western eyes. I don't know one way or the other, but that video doesn't help one way or the other.

From memory (I may be wrong), the video's example of a westerner drawn with narrow eyes from from a show where the Asian characters also had narrow eyes (relative to the kind of eye excess in the other examples)

You may be right, either way seems plausible to me, and Asian people take their facial cues from the eyes far more than westerners do, so I am quite sure the eyes don't look western to Asians, but it sounds I haven't studied the origins, so I can't say, but it sounds suspiciously like there is a pet peeve here arguing against the possibility more than study of origins.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:20 PM on July 4, 2010


In other words, no, the big-eyed style did not originate from artists trying to make their characters look Caucasian. It's just a style of drawing that, to the vast majority of anime fans in Asia, looks Asian.

Uh. The big-eyed style originated with Osamu Tezuka who was basing the look on (among others, probably) Betty Boop. And others started using it to emulate Tezuka, and thus on Betty Boop By Proxy. So while it is probably not technically correct to say the big-eyed style is used to make the characters look Caucasian, it is less wrong to say that than to say that the style is used because it looks Asian to the vast majority of anime fans in Asia. Gven that Betty Boop is about as Caucasian as they come.

Asian anime fans these days may well associate the look with asian characters (I have no idea) but you've got the causation backwards. It's not used because Anime fans think it makes the characters look Asian, Anime fans think it makes the characters look Asian because it is used in Anime.
posted by Justinian at 3:34 PM on July 4, 2010


From memory (I may be wrong), the video's example of a westerner drawn with narrow eyes from from a show where the Asian characters also had narrow eyes (relative to the kind of eye excess in the other examples)

It's from Azumanga Daioh, where all the Japanese characters have decidedly "big" eyes. What's interesting to me, though, is that Westerners are often distinguished as having larger noses more than anything else. That's also something you see in a lot of anime and manga.

The big-eyed style originated with Osamu Tezuka who was basing the look on (among others, probably) Betty Boop. And others started using it to emulate Tezuka, and thus on Betty Boop By Proxy. So while it is probably not technically correct to say the big-eyed style is used to make the characters look Caucasian, it is less wrong to say that than to say that the style is used because it looks Asian to the vast majority of anime fans in Asia. Gven that Betty Boop is about as Caucasian as they come.

I hadn't said the style is used specifically to make the characters look Asian; just that it does, in fact, look Asian to many Asian anime fans. It's fascinating the way influences work, certainly, but it irks me that the burden of proof is put on the modern artists to prove that they're not aping white people when they draw things this way, based on cultural assumptions about the way Asian people are supposed to look.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:56 PM on July 4, 2010


We're mostly in agreement, MStPT. I think the history of the style makes it rather obvious that it isn't an attempt to make the character look white. I think I misunderstood you as making an active statement about how the style is intended to look, as apposed to a descriptive statement about how the look now comes across after so many years of being associated with more asian styles of animation.
posted by Justinian at 5:39 PM on July 4, 2010


Yes, it does seem that way, and I admit I'm maybe an eensy bit overzealous on this subject. I'm happy. And I'm also glad I got a chance to mention Azumanga Daioh, completely within context, instead of trying to shoehorn it into a health care thread.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:46 PM on July 4, 2010


High fashion is a lot like molecular gastronomy: you have this basic thing that people need to survive (food, clothing), which rich people get bored of, so they invent a version of the thing which continues to titillate them even after they're overstimulated (fine dining, fashion), after which even richer people requiring more titillation escalate to the point of absurdity (molecular gastronomy, Lady Gaga sunglasses). For both, utility peaks at about 25% of price or stimulation, and plummets afterward.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:55 PM on July 5, 2010


These are popular among certain groups here in China. I was out at a bar with a big group of people, and one of the girls had these contacts on. It was, without a doubt, one of the most frightening things I'd ever seen in normal, everyday life. I couldn't look her in the eyes. Something was just off in a deeply unsettling way.
posted by msbrauer at 4:44 PM on July 5, 2010


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