They say the eyes are the windows of the soul and as anyone who watches sci-fi or horror films knows, the eyes show who's not quite as human as they may seem.
Ebraham Francis, optician and owner of Eyebar Optical & Sunglasses Boutique in White Rock, helps create the creepy eye effect for some locally-shot film and TV shows. He has most recently worked on the sets of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I and II, as well as Fringe, Smallville and Sanctuary.
When on set, he takes the actors' eye measurements with a portable keratometer and then checks the overall health of their eyes with a portable slit lamp.
Because contact lenses are actually medical devices, even the ones that only change iris colour, "you need a contact fitter on set the way you need a nurse," said Francis.
Each person's eyes are unique. The curvature of the cornea (the clear part) determines which contacts will fit properly.
Even though people can now buy glasses and contacts in B.C. without prescriptions, Francis - like many in his line of work - is concerned that people can easily cause themselves eye damage by not knowing all they need to before placing an order.
And that's just for regular lenses. The specialty ones, like the all black or all white scleral lenses (which cover the whole eye), or ones with patterns, are generally larger, thicker and more difficult to get in properly.
Francis, who has been told he has "magic fingers," cleans and fits the specialty lenses for actors, made by Contour Contact Lenses.
"What I do is so personal," he said. "I blend the medical and fashion."
And when on set, he does this in often challenging conditions, like knee-deep in snow and under time pressure. Especially if there are 10 actors who all need lenses fitted and the director is calling for shooting to start.
Once fitted, Francis checks on the actors frequently and gives them comfort drops as needed because the contacts, especially the large scleral ones, are uncomfortable to wear.
He said it can be more challenging to work with people who have high cheekbones or almond shaped eyes, but it isn't really a problem, so long as the eyes are healthy.
This sideline of contact fitting for film shoots began about four years ago when the maker of the specialty lenses came into his shop on Johnston Road and asked if he knew anyone who could fit lenses.
Francis is that guy and wanted to accept the job, but because he had no staff to help run the store back then, he had to say no.
Fast forward a few years and Francis has renamed the store from its original Horizon Vision to Eyebar Optical & Sunglasses Boutique and moved half a block down the street. He also changed the store's offerings from lower end styles to designer wear and hired an optometrist in order to serve all ages and eye needs.
The upbeat boutique owner has begun to pursue his passion for fashion in other ways too, such as fitting models for fashion shoots, live fashion shows, and the newest wedding trend: having the entire wedding party properly fitted with sunglasses or eyewear as both a thank-you gift and to ensure everyone looks their best.
"I love what I do. It fits my personality," he said, adding, "everything in my store I handpick."
Eyebar Optical is at 1322 Johnston Rd. To find out more about Francis's film and TV work, look for him online on Facebook and Twitter, @eyebar_boutique.