© Copyright 2017 Mijeong Ki, Ryerson University.
Have you ever noticed that someone who you were talking to is wearing contact lenses? Well maybe not, if they are wearing transparent ones. Transparent contact lenses or hard lenses on people’s eyes can be barely noticed without being observed closely. These unnoticeable small things however can make you see better, which means it can literally even change your vision of the world. As sight is the most important sense of all, we should be thankful to this tiny little wonderful invention.
Think about your lens experience. Have you ever tried to wear contact lenses? Why do we wear them? Maybe to see the world more clearly, right? Absolutely one main reason why we wear contact lenses is to be able to see everything better. They help you to look at things that once were blurred clearly.
Then, why don’t you just use glasses? To discuss this, I will introduce a conversation between me and my mom first. For your information, this controversy is still going on. After graduating from high school, I asked my mom to buy me some contact lenses. I said, “Because I look better with contact lens than glasses!” Truly, there is a clear difference for me between wearing glasses and wearing lenses. Mom however did not want me to wear the latter ones and told me sweet words to change my mind. “You always look gorgeous when you are wearing glasses or not.” No, mom. I do not. Thanks for cheering me up though.
As you can see from this situation, for some girls like me, contact lenses have a great influence on our appearance. Therefore, I strongly insist that there are obviously more cultural purposes other than just one main function of contact lens, which is eyesight. They influence someone’s looks in a different way. Since people take more and more care about appearance, they try to look nicer with contact lenses instead of dull glasses. I can make you more convinced here. A girl who was wearing glasses in the library usually takes off the glasses and wears contact lenses instead when going out to a club or something. Of course, not 100% sure but for many cases, yes. For another example, K-pop band members wear special coloured contact lenses on the stage to look better and give public impressive image of them. It does affect people in a good way.
There is also difference between Asian people and Western people on how they think of contact lenses. This is not that 100% true again, but what I have thought and experienced so far. As an Asian girl, I wear contact lenses almost every day. Coloured contact lenses are my life. Since I first got here in Canada as an exchange student from Korea, I have been asked “Are you wearing contact lenses?” so many times. Then they told me that Asian people wear coloured ones a lot more than Western people. I in some degree agree that Asian girls are a lot more likely to use contact lenses than Western guys.
For me, I get more confident with my lenses and eye makeup. It is not that I do not like my eye itself, just they make my eyes look prettier. I would say that they are part of my identities. Therefore, contact lens can also work as someone’s self-expression and culture of vision.
Elkins, James. How to use your eyes. Routledge, 2009.
Ki, Mijeong. Contact Lenses. 13 Feb, 2018. Private collection
Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.