So you’re interested in contact lenses for your cosplay?
As cosplayers, we like to add those little touches to our ensemble to bring us one step closer to bringing our characters to life. One of those little touches is getting contact lenses to change our eye color, make a bigger pop of color, and/or enlarge the eyes. So what do you need to do? Some cosplayers already have contact lenses and wear glasses to correct their vision, so they have had these experiences prior. This article is aimed more toward those who do not wear corrective eyewear and who want contacts for cosmetic reasons.
First of all, realize that contact lenses are medical devices. Infections, scratches, even blindness can occur with their use/misuse. Wearing contact lenses is not the end all be all requirement of a good or fun cosplay, because some cosplayers cannot tolerate their use. If someone says it is necessary, then they can take that elitist attitude elsewhere. Now that you have had the warning, what do you need to do to get those contacts?
Go see an optometrist. You will probably have a full eye exam done – usually standard for getting any prescription. By the way, you should get an eye exam every couple years to check for vision issues, for your general overall health. Specify that you want to be fitted for contacts. If you do not need vision correction, then explain that you want contacts for cosmetic reasons.
They will measure your eye curvature and size, and see if you are able to wear contacts. There could be a reason such as dry eye, allergies to contact lenses or their solutions, or some other condition that will not allow you to use contacts. They will show you how to properly put them in and take them out, and usually make you do it a few times to show them you can do it on your own. If you cannot do it on your own, they may not give you the prescription. They may even show you the proper way of cleaning and storing them. Some optometrists may even give you a trial pair to wear for a few hours each day so you can get used to them, then return in a follow up appointment and recheck your eyes for any adverse affects. (This is how it was with my optometrist, your experience may differ.)
Note: Some optometrists will try to refuse to give you a prescription because they want you to order all your contact supplies through them. Optometrists cannot withhold a valid prescription, it is against the law. You do not have to buy your contacts or supplies through only them.
Once you are all cleared and the optometrist gives you a prescription, there are many online stores that cater to cosplayers. Check reviews of the websites and realize that most legitimate sellers will require a prescription because contacts are regulated medical devices. Some overseas sellers still do not require prescriptions, but realize that many now do (or will) because of shipping regulations on items coming into the U.S.
Tips: Be sure to have contact lens cleaning solution that works with your contacts, cases to store your lenses, and check expiration dates on the solutions and even on the contacts. When in cosplay, it may help to carry a small travel contact lens care kit in case the need arises that you need to take them out sooner than anticipated. Always wash your hands before putting lenses in and taking them out. No matter how tired you are at a convention, be sure to take them out before you go to bed – most cosmetic contacts are not meant to be worn overnight.
I am not an optometrist or eye care professional, just another cosplayer who answers questions about wearing contacts and how I got started wearing contacts for cosplay. This advice and instruction is a recommendation for those interested in wearing contacts for cosplay. If you have questions, be sure to ask your optometrist and follow their advice.