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HomeminewsThe Gaga Doe-Eyed Look Under Fire

The Gaga Doe-Eyed Look Under Fire

Lady Gaga, recently listed the fourth most powerful and influential celebrities in the world by Forbes magazine (June 2010), has come under fire for a damaging contact lens craze she has inspired.

In her ‘Bad Romance’ video the singer has created an exaggerated doe-eyed look, which (for the video) was created by special effects (CGI) in post production.

The contact lenses that give this same ‘Gaga doe-eyed look’ are called ‘circle lenses’. Circle lenses make the eyes appear larger by covering not just the iris like a regular contact, but also part of the white of the eye.


The contact lenses that give this same ‘Gaga doe-eyed look’ are called ‘circle lenses’. Circle lenses make the eyes appear larger by covering not just the iris like a regular contact, but also part of the white of the eye.

It is reported that users of these lenses are at risk of developing chronic dry eye and serious bacterial infections. Similar lenses are widely available online where their use is not regulated by an eye care provider.

Users who purchase these lenses online and don’t know how to properly fit contact lenses are at greatest risk of developing bacterial infections, creating scars on the cornea or even causing loss of vision.

In the United States it is illegal to sell contact lenses without a script, however, in Australia and New Zealand it’s a different matter. In New Zealand there is no regulation covering the sale of cosmetic contact lenses but in Australia it’s not that simple. There is no single answer to the sale of cosmetic contact lenses (CCLs) in Australia as each state has its own regulations.

In New South Wales, only an optometrist or optical dispenser can supply CCLs but you don’t need a script. In Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania there is no specific piece of legislation that regulates the sale of non-prescription contact lenses (in this case, cosmetic contact lenses); however, in South Australia it’s illegal to sell CCLs, full stop. However, patients aren’t aware of these laws so there is nothing to stop young people from purchasing the cosmetic lenses from online retailers.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 states (under section 122 of the act) that you have to be an optometrist (or trained medical practitioner) to write out a script for a contact lens, but the conundrum is there is nothing that stops anyone from actually selling CCL’s.

Many eye health professionals believe, now that we have National Registration in Australia for optometrists and a completely unregulated optical dispensing landscape, it would make sense to have common rules for cosmetic contact lenses.

They say it seems a bizarre situation that you need to be a trained optometrist to write out a script for contact lenses but in most states of Australia and in New Zealand any unregulated retailer can sell them.

They also believe the Optometrists Board of Australia (OBA) needs to set in place national regulations for the sale of cosmetic contact lenses. Optometrists we spoke to said “it’s just plain dangerous for young people to stick these things in your eyes but if they have to, they need to see an optometrist”. Andrew Harris, the OAA’s President warns that bugs don’t discriminate between cosmetic and other contact lenses. He says: “All lenses should be fitted and delivered properly with an appropriate after care schedule. Well informed, compliant patients with professionally fitted lenses and care will invariably have hassle free lens wear. If in the rare event things do go wrong they have an established relationship and can seek care and advice quickly and easily.

“Purchasing contact lenses from a costume shop or over the ‘net’ without any idea of how to insert, remove, disinfect or clean the lenses which may or may not fit; with no idea of the symptoms or consequences of potential problems and without any consideration or assessment of corneal health is a recipe for disaster,” said Mr. Harris.


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