For both retailers and consumers alike, the increased popularity and prominence of novelty optical lenses can only be a positive thing. Increasing choice for consumers has added a new viable business stream for optical retailers and manufacturers. The steep increase in acceptability and desirability of these once extremely niche products has come as a surprise to many, but the trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
What novelty contacts mean for the optical retailers
With changes in fashions and widespread availability, one ever growing section of the optical market is in vanity or novelty contact lenses. With many consumers choosing to temporarily change the appearance of their eyes, often to complement their outfit or to create a visually striking effect it appears a new mainstream fashion trend is emerging. Even people with perfect vision and not requiring any visual correction are purchasing lenses to turn their brown eyes blue, white their eyes out like a zombie, or replicate the eyes of a cat. High fashion designs are starting to appear, with limited edition shapes and patterns to match designer and catwalk trends.
The value of novelty contacts to optical retailers cannot be discounted. The very nature of these items means that not only are people who would not traditionally have purchased lenses going out and buying a pair, they are actually regularly picking up several variations. Different colours and designs makes them a valuable accessory to an outfit, or a professional looking touch to a costume for Halloween, as well as clubbing in increasingly fashionable alternative lifestyle venues.
What novelty contacts can offer the consumers
Whilst once limited to film and television specialist markets, the majority of novelty lenses today are sold to the youth market for regular clubbing and social events. The increase in popularity of gothic imagery, horror films, American and Japanese style dressing has increased exponentially. From a once strange curio to an accepted and applauded lifestyle choice, thanks in part to the rise of awareness of different cultures and movements through the internet, eye lenses are an integral element of this form of dressing.
It is not a surprise that these contact lenses are mostly sold to young people who go out socialising, as these are the people with the most exposure to new cultures and ideas. They are also very open to experiencing new suggestions and trends, the ones who spend the largest amount of time online, and the ones with the largest disposable income to spend on fashions and accessories. Novelty lenses are sold to replicate looks from the latest films, with movies such as Avatar and the Twilight series seeing a large number of fans wanting to replicate the look of their onscreen heroes.
It is only likely that given time, this trend will become even more mainstream than and as commonplace as tattoos and piercings have become today.