Halloween: A Day With Black Sclera Contacts

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Intro

Two years ago I rocked the house with a sweet Scooby Doo costume. Last year I was a Ninja (but aren’t I always?). This year was a bit different…a bit more traditional/spooky/subtle. Black Sclera contacts.

For those of you that don’t know and are slightly curious, Sclera Contacts are contacts that cover…well…the sclera:

The sclera is the opaque (usually white), fibrous, protective layer of the eye containing collagen and elastic fibers. In children, it is thinner and shows some of the underlying pigment, appearing slightly blue. In the old, however, fatty deposits on the sclera can make it appear slightly yellow.

My Experience

Black Sclera at Work Overall, I have been very happy with my contacts once I learned how to put them in. The look is just creepy and causes double-takes of passerby. At the Halloween party that I attended and throughout the day at work while the contacts were in place, I got just the right amount of surprise, disgust, averted eyes, and laughs to make it all worth while.

Thank god that I have a MacBook Pro with a webcam on it because the contacts have popped out a number of times and had no desire to use public bathrooms for contact insertion (in the off chance they fell on the floor). Setting the webcam’s properties, my monitor becomes a handy dandy electronic mirror! w00t!

Here’s a quick little video of me with my Sclera in place at home along with fake teeth from Dental Distortions:

What few know is how long it took me to learn to put these quarter-sized contacts into my head. To just get one in, it took me over an hour and a half of actual attempting split up by searches online and questions to contact wearing friends for help. It wasn’t until I found this awesome video that I actually learned how to insert the little suckers. Kudos to whoever it was that threw that puppy together.

The Drawbacks

Despite the cool factor…there are some drawbacks.

  • Comfort…or Lack Thereof
  • Prescription
  • Price
  • Installation into head

Comfort…or Lack Thereof

Because the contacts that I ordered are not custom fit (few Theatrical Sclera Contacts are), there is some level of discomfort that comes and goes with increasing frequency the longer you wear them. I find myself adjusting the contacts throughout the day to ensure optimal visibility and minimize the blurriness caused by creases that creep up due to my eye being a bit too small for the contact’s diameter of 22mm.

Prescription

A prescription is required even for non-corrective lenses because contacts are a “medical device.” Fine fine…I’d understand that if they were custom fit for my eyes (which they aren’t, typically) and corrective. But stock sizes and non-corrective shouldn’t require a prescription. The lame part about that is…even though you are required to have a prescription, if they cannot contact your eye doctor within 3 days, the order is processed anyways (due to The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act passed in 2004). Such is life, I suppose.

Price

Sclera lenses cost an arm and a leg. I set my sights (pun intended) on these contacts last halloween and saved accordingly. The lenses I purchased cost $128 a lens. Yup. Per lens. The enjoyment is worth it though (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

Installation In To Head

As I mentioned before, putting these quarter sized objects on top of my eyes was very difficult at first taking a good 10 minutes per eye once I finally knew how to put them in (thanks to this awesome video). Never having worn contact lenses before made this very complicated for me. Now that I have removed and inserted them a number of times I can do so with little irritation and typically on the first or second try (sometimes third if I have no mirror).

Basically what needs to be done is this:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Clean the contacts
  3. Make sure the contact lens is not inside out (an inside-out contact lens flares out along the edges)
  4. Place the ridiculously huge contact on the tip of your index finger and middle finger of your dominant hand, curved side down (of course)
  5. Hold your upper eyelid up with your non-dominant hand just enough for you to slip the edge of the contact under your eyelid with your dominant hand (index and middle fingers).
  6. Next, basically wiggle and shove the contact up under your lid (opening your other eye and looking into a mirror to check your progress is key) until the majority of the contact is shoved under the lid. This can fill like shoving a handful of gravel in your eye, but that passes quickly.
  7. As soon as you notice that the contact is sufficiently shoved under your upper lid, release that lid with your non-dominant hand and pry your lower lid down and over the lower part of the contact lens.
  8. At this point, depending on how sensitive your eye is, you may need to close your eye tightly to get your bearings because it may still hurt at this point. Keep it closed until you feel you can open your eye just enough to wiggle the contact around on your eye to get it in place. This gets easier and less painful each time you do it.
  9. The end. w00t. If you are doing two contact lenses…I’d suggest doing the eye opposite your dominant hand. (if you are right handed, do your left eye first and vice versa). That worked out better for me.

Getting Halloween Sclera Contacts

If you are totally pumped and want your own, you can pick up some Theatrical/Movie/Halloween Sclera (sometimes called full-eye) contacts at a number of places:

Shop Talk on World of Warcraft. WoW is the next Golf?

heuric.jpgSlashdot directed me to an article over at 1up. It seems that Joi Ito is singing the same song that I have been since my immersion in World of Warcraft.

Joi Itio, “the money-and-idea guy behind internet companies PSINet, Digital Garage, Infoseek Japan, and social software like Moveable Type, Technorati, and Socialtext” is pleasantly addicted to WoW as I am. Here’s an excerpt from the 1up article:

These days Joi enjoys the social aspects of the game. And by “enjoys” I really mean, “is absolutely obsessed by”. “The game really starts at level 60,” he says. Taking care of a guild, administering to members’ needs, looking after newbs and pleasing the veterans is a delicate balancing act that challenges even a guy who is used to being the CEO of fast-growing companies. “Warcraft is like a really, really well-designed UI for real-time, ad-hoc group collaboration and management of tons of people. The tools are really interesting because they apply to stuff that we’ll be using in the real world.” Has he learned new lessons about leadership because of his involvement in WoW? “Definitely,” he says. Eric tells me Joi carries around copies of the game to hand out to people he meets in real life. Joi has become a real Warcraft evangelist.

Pretty nifty. Like it or not, MMORPGs (WoW in particular) are gaining ground in many walks of life. As game membership grows beyond its 5 million subscribers, the probability of getting into a conversation and relating with a fellow technophile (or anyone for that matter) increases. As I have stated in the past: gone is the time I log into IM to chat with friends. I log into WoW and they are there waiting. Over the past year and a half of membership in World of Warcraft community I have had discussions on get-togethers, code, received/given help on work-related topics, all forms of entertainment, web 2.0, blogging, etc. It is becoming a melting pot of information transfer for both professional and non-professional topics!

Is WoW the next Golf – a get-together of friends for the tossing around ideas and banter? Well, thats to be determined. Heh…I can’t turn down a chance for real-life interaction just yet, but meeting in game to talk about out of game stuff is easy and somewhat commonplace for me.