Theatrical contact lenses are favorites for costume parties. And for a good reason - nothing can make your costume seem more real than a pare of bright inhuman eyes. However, with so many special effect contacts available it is important to know how to select good ones.
All special effect contacts are soft contact lenses. This means that, with proper care and cleaning, you will hardly notice there is anything in your eyes. Most people can wear costume contact lenses without any problems.
What types of special effect contact lenses are on offer?
Theatrical lenses come in hundreds of exciting designs. You can get cat’s eye contacts, red or black spirals, wolf eyes, bloodshot eyes, vampire, white-out, black-out or even an American flag design. The most popular and trustworthy brands of special effect contact lenses are Crazy Lenses from Cooper Vision and Wild Eyes from Ciba Vision.
As all color contact lenses, costume lenses can be produced digitally (printed by a computer) or hand-painted. As you would expect, the price of hand-painted contacts is much higher than mass produced, digital ones - usually upwards from $150. Hand-painted lenses are the most beautiful, and every detail is very clear.
However, don’t assume that mass produced lenses are no good. They make an excellent addition to your costume for a Halloween party, or just for a fun night out at a club. On the other hand, if you plan to shoot a home movie, where your face will be seen large and clear, a pair of more expensive, hand-painted theatrical lenses would be better.
You can also order custom special effect lenses - an artist will paint any design you like. Naturally, though, custom theatrical lenses are the most expensive.
What effect would you like - just to change the color portion of your eye to something exotic, or to cover the whites of your eyes as well and make them look completely inhuman?
Most theatrical contact lenses only cover your iris, this way you can get an effect of cat eyes, wolf eyes, red-hot eyes or spirals. But there’s another type of costume contact called scleral lenses. As the name suggests, this lens covers your entire sclera (the visible portion of your eye, including the white). Scleral lenses are more flexible in design, because they are not restricted by the circular shape of the lens and whites around. The effects that you have seen in Predator or Dune are achieved with scleral lenses.
However, scleral costume lenses are harder to manufacture, so they are always more expensive than the circular ones - but the effect is well worth it.
Can I wear costume contacts if I need vision correction?
The most popular brands, like Wild Eyes and Crazy lenses, come with or without visual correction. Crazy lenses also come in the most common size - diameter 14.2 and base curve 8.6. This means that they would suit the majority of people.
Most other costume contacts can be only be ordered in plano. However some companies, allow you to specify your prescription, especially when the lenses are custom made.
Make your costume really stand out with a pair of scary theatrical lenses. You will have great fun and be the center of everybody’s attention.
Tanya Turner is costume and color contact lens expert and a founder of Contact Lens Guide , where you can find information and photos of Halloween special effect contacts