Sclera Contact Lenses Explained
Sclera contacts are a fashion accessory which covers more of the surface of the eye than regular contact lenses. Most prescription and colored contacts are between 14.0 and 14.5mm in diameter, meaning that they only cover the areas of the eye called the pupil (the black center through which we see) and the iris (the colored circle around the center which allows the pupil to dilate so that more light can enter the pupil and we can adjust to see more easily in lower light conditions.
Sclera contact lenses also cover part or all of the sclera.
Technically they are not contact lenses, as a lens is defined as a
"piece of glass or other transparent material with curved sides for concentrating or dispersing light rays" (OED, 2018)". As these contacts do no refract light or effect vision, they are not a lens. Just like normal non-prescription sunglasses, they are not designed to improve vision. However, we often refer to them as contact lenses, as it is established in colloquial language.
"Sclera" contacts should not be confused with "Scleral" contact lenses. The former are a soft fashion accessory and do not contain a fluid reservoir. The latter is a rarely used optometric vision altering device requiring a prescription. You can learn more about the difference here.
There are currently there are 2 types of the sclera fashion and costume accessory available; 22mm and 17mm in diameter versions.
22mm Sclera Contacts
These are what people tend to imagine when they think about sclera contacts.
They cover most of the sclera making the whole of the eye appear to be one color or pattern. For example, a black sclera 22mm contact is often used to give the impression of vampire eyes.
17mm Mini-Sclera Contacts
Much smaller than the 22mm variety, these actually only appear slightly larger than normal contacts. Lots of the sclera remains visible. They're sometimes called circle lenses as they give a very cute Anime character aesthetic (17mm mini sclera contacts are often drawn covering more sclera than they really do, they're then sold far cheaper price than full sclera contacts).
The centers of sclera contacts are transparent (or have a fine mesh in a few designs), allowing the wearer to see through the center. The color of the sclera contact is actually achieved with a very thin coloured foil which is sandwiched between 2 layers of the polymacron. While this may sound a strange approach, any sort of dye would of course just run due to the water content and ruin the design!
Our specialist fashion accessory scleras which you will find across our site are sterile hydrophillic soft sclera contacts made with 62% polymacon and 38% water with a high oxygen permeability for comfort. Generally, the more water content, the more comfortable, but also the less time they will last and more difficult they are to stay in when worn.
They are manufactured in a sterile environment and immersed in buffered saline solution in individually sealed vials. Sclera full eye colored contact lenses are designed to fit most eyes, however some people may find them uncomfortable to wear for an extended period of time if they are not used to contact lenses.
Sclera contacts are designed to create a striking effect by covering the whole of the visible eye with color or pattern. These full eye coloured lenses are very popular in the movie and fashion industries and are the crowning jewel for any costume. Sclera lenses are used in movies such as the whited-out eyes of the monsters in Evil Dead, or blacked-out eyes in Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, or the Star Trek episode Where No Man Has Gone Before. These lenses are used extensively in Cosplay for characters such as X-Men, Avatar, Tokyo Ghoul and Naruto.
And that's it! Got any questions? Feel free to send us a message and ask...