Contacts Vs. Glasses

Contacts vs glasses? This is a highly personal question as it will depend on your eyes (your correction needs – is it age related/readers/computer?), your personality and the advice from your Optometrist/ Ophthalmologist.

For some contacts are the only way to go. For others, it’s an impossibility!

That said approximately 45 million (according to the CDC) wear contacts. And with the improvements in technology, they are getting easier and better take care of. Assuming the Optometrist/ Ophthalmologist recommends them, they can direct you to the best match for your needs – hard or soft, daily or extended wear or even multifocal lenses.

putting on contact lenses

There are definitely advantages to wearing contacts that you don’t find while wearing glasses:

  1. One of the more important benefits may be the perception of looking better as some don’t like the way they look while wearing glasses. Especially for teens – looks are so important at that age and if the glasses are not the right look – well you know.
  2. You have more natural vision as they move with your eyes – unlimited peripheral vision you can look up, and down and still see with the power of your contacts – unlike glasses.
  3. You can have better vision with contacts due to the proximity to your eyes. (which is the reason contacts and glasses differ in the prescription strengths prescribed)
  4. They are great for sports – there are no problems with falling glasses, fogging or sweat slippage problems. When swimming one can use googles and still see perfectly in the water.
  5. There is also the option of colored contact lenses, which allow the wearer to temporarily change their eye color.
  6. Contacts are not as affected by the environment as glasses are – for example, reflection, temperature changes or dirt.
  • Glasses can collect dust, dirt and oil which can lower the clarity of your vision.
  • Glasses get foggy during temperature changes of the body or the weather.
  • Light from around you can decrease your visual acuity especially if you are don’t have anti-reflective coating on your glasses.

So while there are many advantages to wearing contacts there are some general disadvantages

  1. Contacts are rather expensive – more so than glasses are today.
  2. It takes a while to get used to wearing contacts and there is a learning curve to putting them in
  3. More follow-up care is involved with your eye doctor – especially when you are trying on a new prescription, a new/different type of lenses or having any problems like dry eyes.
  4. You also need to be fitted for the right pair – while glasses also need to fit well it’s not the same thing. You need a special prescription for contacts that will specify diameter and base curve components necessary for a well-fitting lens
  5. The chance for infections are high (1 in 500) – not washing hands or not using solutions to clean lens properly between use increases the chances of contact with dirt, debris and yes, bacteria. With those wearing extended contacts being the more vulnerable to infections than daily contacts wearers
  6. If you have high astigmatism, your vision might get blurry when the lenses rotate. (though there are special contacts for high astigmatism, they tend to be high priced)
  7. According to some accounts if you work on the computer all day – contacts can contribute to computer eye syndrome.
  8. People with dry eyes have a hard time with contacts – their tear ducts don’t provide enough lubrication and while the ducts can be temporarily closed to stop the draining and thereby make more liquid available to lubricate the eyes, this doesn’t work in the long run in which case for these people the use of glasses may be more comfortable and thereby better. Conversely, wearing contacts can contribute to dry eyes syndrome by restricting the amount of oxygen to the eyes
round retro tortoise glasses

The advantages of wearing glasses are also compelling

  1. Glasses don’t really have the limitations that contacts can have -there are no bad candidates for glasses as there are for contacts – if you have dry eyes, conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, severe eye allergies or if you have an unusual need for correction they may not give the quality of vision that a good pair of glasses would
  2. Just wear and go – no solutions, no cleaning, changing, inserting or otherwise handling of the eyes.
  3. Eyeglasses can limit or adjust the amount of light that your eyes are exposed to – by the use of photochromic lenses – photosensitive lenses. These also protect the eyes both inside and outside from UV rays
  4. If you work on a computer all day you can protect your eyes from the artificial blue light from the computer(or mobile) by getting a blue light filter on your glasses lenses.
  5. You can choose from a variety of frames – a large variety and change your style often- it’s especially IN right now to wear glasses. All types of shapes(cat-eye, round etc), colors and different frames -from really light rimless frames, too heavy stoic plastic frames- are available.
  6. You can express yourself in ways that define your look and your personality
  7. You can buy glasses online at very affordable prices – you no longer need to spend an arm and a leg for them AND keep the same pair for years because you did spend so much
  8. They may not be the first choice for some sports but they do offer protection from dirt, dust and debris entering the eyes.

While some of the disadvantages of glasses have been mentioned to add a few more:

  1. If you are one that has a strong prescription the glasses can have really thick edged lenses and this can be very unappealing. The glasses might make your eyes appear very small or very big.
  2. It is much easier to get the wrong fitting glasses – and these can be small, too tight or even crooked and can give you headaches or other symptoms of discomfort.

In conclusion

Check with your eye care professional for advice and guidance but generally, your choice in wearing contacts versus glasses is very personal and depends on your lifestyle, prescription, eye health and even age. And while you may feel the choice is clear today as time and your body changes you might find that your needs and choices will change.

In any case, no matter your choice today it is always a good idea to have a great pair of glasses – even while out wearing the contacts you might find that your contacts need to be removed or damaged for some reason and depending on your prescription strength – your glasses might come in very handy at that point.

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