Circle Lenses and FDA Approval

Circle Lenses aka ‘big eye contact lenses’ are soft contacts that are larger in diameter than ‘normal’ clear or colored contact lenses and hence give the appearance of larger and usually brighter eyes. They were created in South Korea several years ago and have become a fashion staple in Asia. In fact, the Korean Herald estimated that Circle Lens contacts represents more than 30% of the entire contact lenses market in South Korea. Many Asian celebrities have sported the doll-eye circle lens look and have had a huge impact on spreading this new cosmetic lenses fashion trend.

In the USA most large media outlets ran stories on the circle lenses phenomenon after Lady Gaga debuted big eye contact lenses (or perhaps just computerized special effects) in her Bad Romance video and gave her credit for making them popular in America. Others credit Michelle Phan and her viral YouTube video showing young girls how to get the Lady Gaga big eye look by wearing a wig, applying eye makeup and topping it off with a cool pair of color circle lenses contacts.

Although this author agrees that Stefani (that’s Lady Gaga’s real name) and Michelle have had a big influence in spreading the circle lens style he also feels that it’s just a matter of time before these cosmetic lenses become common place in most modern parts of the world. They are hugely popular among teen girls and those young single adult females who are into the night club scene.

In today’s relatively small global world of communications, grass roots marketing and self published YouTube videos any style or fashion that has a strong following in one part of the world is likely to migrate much more quickly than even a decade ago when Internet use was not yet a part of daily life. Some fashions or styles may be fads and others may not stick due to cultural differences but for young woman the appeal to enhance their eye color and create the illusion of larger, sexier eyes seems to be universal and transcend cultures.

This trend of dressing up the eyes isn’t uncommon as Halloween contact lenses are already popular among vampire fanatics and also average people during Halloween season to complete the ultimate costume. The use of larger, colored contacts is also gaining in popularity among those who engage in cosplay, short for costume play, and still other young woman trying to simulate the Japanese style or look of Anime.

Just because the US FDA hasn’t yet approved them does that make them more dangerous than regular contacts or is the real danger the fact that because our FDA hasn’t approved them young woman and girls in the US are choosing to buy them online without a prescription? The KFDA, Korean Food and Drug Administration, that cares for the safety and health of the citizens of South Korea has approved these lenses, are they wrong? Would a government body approve something that was dangerous? Should the FDA approve these new larger contact lenses and let our companies make and distribute these lenses and allow Doctors to properly fit them? The current reality is that circle lens contacts will be worn and purchased by young American woman even without approval.

Perhaps the best and safest approach the US FDA could pursue would be to encourage a large US based lens manufacturer to create safe circle lenses and expedite their approval so that US woman could purchase these lenses in the states and get them properly fitted and receive a valid prescription. Unless the FDA is already reviewing these lenses (and it’s unlikely given that Karen Riley the FDA authority interviewed by the New York Times in 2010 admitted she didn’t even know what circle lenses were) any future approval request of circle lens contacts in the states is likely to move at a bureaucratic snail’s pace typical of FDA approvals for medical devices which is the classification that all contact lenses sold in the US are a part of. Today the very same lenses can be sold in other countries without a current prescription.

Until such time as FDA approval of Circle Contacts becomes a reality we can recommend one specific pair of Circle Lens contacts that are in fact FDA approved and available from several popular online contact lenses retailers, you just need to know what to ask for… visit for more information on FDA Approved Circle Lenses.

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