Safely Buy, Wear, and Care For Cosplay Contact Lenses
Are you ready to take your cosplaying to the next level with decorative colored contacts? There are few things you should keep in mind if you’re considering wearing cosplay contacts.
Step 1: Visit the Eye Doctor
Don’t go rolling your eyes at me. I know visiting the doctor can be a pain, but YOU SHOULD NOT SKIP THIS STEP. In fact, within the U.S. it is illegal to sell decorative contacts without proof of prescription.
This is for good reason though. Contacts not only come in different power strengths, but they also come with different diameters and base curves. Wearing contacts that aren’t a fit for your eye, or improperly taking care of them, can lead to eye infections or even permanent vision loss.
Your eye doctor can conduct an exam (hey, if it’s been a while anyways, it’s good to have your eyes checked out!), give you a proper prescription, and teach you how to properly care for your contacts.
Most costume lens diameters range from 14.00mm to 16.00mm. The larger lenses will make your eyes look bigger and more doll like, but it’s important to make sure that they sit comfortably on your eyes. Base curves generally range from 8.3-8.7. Your optometrist will let you know what size and curve your eyes are. Feel free to ask if it’s safe to deviate from the numbers given you. For example, it’s often okay to go up or down .1 on the base curve, but be sure to check!
Even if you have 20/20 vision and don’t need correction you still need to visit your eye doctor. You’ll likely end up getting plano lenses that have a -0.00 correction. If you wear glasses, keep in mind that the corrective strength of your glasses will vary from the strength of contacts you should wear.
Step 2: Buy From a Trusted Source
Now that you have a prescription from your optometrist and know your base curve, diameter, and strength, you’re ready to order your cosplay contacts. Be sure to order from a reputable seller to ensure you get quality contacts. Here are recommended websites that have backings from the online cosplay group I’m a part of.
- Pinky Paradise – This website not only takes prescriptions, but they have reviews from past purchasers so you can see how others feel about the colors. Additionally, they include photos from real users to allow you to see what the contacts actually look like on different eye types. They offer different base curve options and even have a line for people with astigmatism.
- Honeycolor – While Honeycolor may not have quite as large of a fan base as Pinky Paradise they are also considered a reputable source to purchase from. Like Pinky Paradise, their site takes prescriptions, includes reviews, offers different base curve options, and has special lines for astigmatism.
- Uniqso – If the above two retailers aren’t working for you, Uniqso is another option. They too have reviews listed for their contacts so you can read what others think before purchasing.
All 3 of these sites have great selections of colored lenses and you should be able to find just about any costume lens color or design you might need for your cosplay.
Step 3: Wearing Your Cosplay Lenses
Getting use to wearing contacts is not an instant event. It takes time and practice to not only learn how to put them in and take them out, but for your eyes to get use to having a foreign object on them. Even for people who wear contacts daily, wearing colored and decorative contacts is still a different experience. That is because costume lenses don’t allow as much oxygen to permeate as normal lenses. Contact re-wetting drops will become your friend in either case.
“Full eye” contacts are called sclera lens. These lenses do not let you eyes breathe at all and should definitely be worn for as short a time as possible (aka wear them for your couple hour photo shoot and then remove them).
For those who are new to wearing contacts, of course get recommendations from your eye doctor on inserting and removing, but Youtube can also be a big helper. I’d recommend starting a month out from the convention to give your eyes time to adjust and build up to wearing them for extended periods of time. Start with 2-3 hours and work up to 7-8 hours. You could technically stick them in the first time on the day of the convention but it’s not going to be a fun day with your eyes wigging out on you.
Also make sure to insert them so they’re facing the correct direction. A backwards contact does not feel good on your eye at all!
You can wear costume lenses for several hours, but you really should limit your wear to just the time when you need them. Once you’re done, remove, clean, and store them. Don’t ever sleep in lenses.
Step 4: Caring for Your Contacts
After taking your contacts out you should rinse and rub them with cleaning solution to remove any debris. Do not clean your contacts with anything other than cleaning or multipurpose contact solution. No water, no rubbing alcohol.
When they’re not being worn, you should store the contact lenses, submerged in contact solution, in a lens case. I’d recommend refreshing the solution every few weeks to keep them fresh, hydrated and soft.
If you notice a tear or scratch on the lens, DO NOT wear. It should be thrown out and replaced. Most lenses will last up to a year, but this will depend on usage and care.
Questions or additional input on contacts? Let me know in the comments below.
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