James Polland is slightly nearsighted, the same as a cat.

And like a cat, Polland avoids the limelight, most of the time. Shyness aside, he can’t help but grab attention when he slips on a pair of crazy contacts.

“For someone who suffers from low self-esteem, it’s something I like to do,” said Polland.

His natural eye color is blue.

Sometimes, he opts to see the world through flames, shamrocks, zebra stripes, even an American flag. Other lenses are labeled “hypnotica,” “ice fire,” “knock out” and “the crow.” His favorite are contacts that make his eyes completely yellow, “like a dragon.” Polland figures with yellow eyes and air-brushed scales on his skin, he could be Lizard Man. He’s never tried it out.

Occasionally, Polland wears his contacts at work. He’s an optician at Wal-Mart in Auburn. He notes each person’s eyes are different and he’s had to be fitted for each set.

“The curvature of your eye can be different from someone else’s, making the lenses uncomfortable to wear and potentially damaging,” he said. The lens is clear over the pupil, so the colorful contacts don’t affect vision.

Polland’s wild contacts may be more suitable for Chicago, where he lived until he was 2. Growing up, he lived in the mountain town of Rangeley for 10 years. The 34-year-old Mount Blue High School graduate has fun watching people’s reactions when they make eye contact.

“You definitely get people staring,” he said.

Since cats have superior night vision, Polland usually reserves those lenses for after dark, when he can be seen slinking around at parties with friends.

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