Optic Verve

updated 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

RICHARD SILVER KNOWS A THING OR two about peculiar peepers. The Picasso of hand-painted contact lenses, he made Brad Pitt look cockeyed for 12 Monkeys, bloodied the orbs of Tom Cruise for Days of Thunder and fitted a pack of rottweilers with grotesque pupils for the 1993 horror film Man's Best Friend. "It was very odd to have five dogs come into my office and sit in my chair," says Silver, 44.

Though his eye lights include Arnold Schwarzenegger's icy stare as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin ("Mr. Freeze will make the Terminator look like a babysitter," the actor said after his fitting) and Vincent D'Onofrio's alien gaze in Men in Black, the Los Angeles optometrist will customize lenses for anyone willing to undergo an eye exam and fitting (lenses start at $800). Among his repertoire: smiley faces, dollar signs and microchips (as worn by LeVar Burton in Star Trek: First Contact). Not that Silver, married to a massage therapist and the father of three, paints for profit only. "I have a lot of fun on Halloween," he says. "I freak my kids out."

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