Contact lenses, or contacts, were originally developed to correct the wearer’s vision without the need for glasses. This sits directly on the cornea of the eye and essentially does the exact function of traditional glasses but without the need for visible frames. In fact, contacts are almost invisible and are very lightweight. Some contacts have a very pale blue tint to them so that they are easier to see for purposes of insertion and removal but it is unusual for the lenses to be noticeable while they are being worn unless you are specifically looking for them.
Gradually the popularity of contacts grew as people realised how simple they were to use and wear and many then felt that they had other benefits. A large number of people choose contacts for reasons of vanity, believing they look more attractive without glasses than with them. They are also more practical in wet weather as they do not get rain drops on them, they don’t steam up and they can be safer for those who enjoy playing sport as there is no risk of physical damage to the face which can occur when wearing glasses.
Following the success of contact lenses, demonstrated by the fact that it is believed that approximately 125 million people worldwide use them, further advancements were made. It was discovered that in addition to correcting visual problems, lenses could be given a color. When worn these lenses would give the impression of the wearer having a different eye color to that which they naturally have. For example, someone with brown eyes could choose to have colored lenses making their eyes appear green.
Initially colored contact lenses were limited to those who required contact lenses for the purposes of vision correction. However, those without the need for vision correction soon decided that they liked the idea of changing their appearance with contact lenses and so a range of coloured contacts was designed which had no effect on the vision of the wearer. These proved so popular that new and different designs were being launched with great regularity. The movie industry soon caught on to the potential of this type of lenses, known as cosmetic contact lenses, and use them for many characters who require an unusual and often eerie appearance. Musicians are also known for using this type of lens. Examples of those who have worn cosmetic lenses are Marilyn Manson and the character of Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.