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Cat got your eye? Contacts for Halloween and every day

eye October 29, 1998
Web posted at: 12:00 a.m. EST (0500 GMT)

By CNN Interactive Writer Wendy Wolfenbarger

(CNN) -- Need an eye-opening look? It just might be the lastest fancy for the teen-age set -- theatrical contact lenses.

The cosmetic lenses, like those seen on movie monsters and vampires, are now mass-marketed through opticians' offices across the country.

WildEyes maker, Wesley Jessen, is mum on how many pairs of the lenses (at around $100 a pair) have sold since their debut in February but said the response has been "tremendous."

The line currently has eight styles with names like "Cateye" (bright gold), "Pool Shark" (an eight ball) and "Starry-Eyed" (moon and star).

Most end up under the lashes of teens and young adults, some who are no doubt influenced by the off-color eye antics of rock star Marilyn Manson who recently donned mismatching red lenses for a Rolling Stone cover.


WildEyes' Product Manager Brad MacLeod said that while teens tend to wear the lenses throughout the year, many are bought by adults for the Halloween season. Popular spooky looks include "Cateye," "Redeye" and "White-out."

MacLeod said about half the patients who get WildEyes do not need corrective lenses. However, the lenses must be prescribed by an eye health care professional.

The lenses are considered relatively safe but there are health concerns -- worries that bacteria and infection can spread as teens swap eyewear with friends. Ophthalmologists warn that wearers should never share.

Michael Ward, director of contact lenses at Emory Eye Clinic in Atlanta, said just like corrective lenses, cosmetic lenses should be properly cleaned and disinfected.

While the center of the lenses are clear for vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology cautioned users, citing a study that shows the cosmetic lenses may not let as much light into the eyes as regular lenses.

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