Glasses or Contact Lenses: What is the best choice for you?
Glasses and contact lenses are the most popular options for vision correction. While glasses have been around for centuries, contact lenses are a more recent innovation that has gained popularity in recent decades. Both solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice between them depends on individual needs and preferences.
We invite you to follow our overview, as we talk about the timeless dilemma of glasses vs contact lenses. In this comprehensive eye care article, you can explore the pros and cons of both, so you can make the right choice for yourself and your eye health.
Glasses for Correcting Vision
Eyeglasses are probably the most traditional choice for correcting vision. They are the first thing people tend to think about when it comes to nearsightedness and farsightedness. Glasses consist of a pair of lenses that are set in a frame and placed in front of the eyes. They come in a variety of shapes, styles, and materials, and can correct a wide range of vision problems such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
By wearing glasses, you can see clearly and perform everyday tasks with greater ease. Here are some of the pros of wearing eyeglasses for vision correction, instead of contact lenses:
+ Easy to use
+ Easy to maintain
+ Eye protection
Eyeglasses are easy to use and require no special care. You can put them on and take them off quickly, and you don't need to follow strict cleaning or maintenance routines, except for regularly cleaning the lenses with a special glasses spray or eyeglasses wipes.
Glasses come in a variety of frames, tints, and colors, which allows wearers to enhance their appearance and match their personal style. In addition, unlike contact lenses, glasses can provide a layer of physical protection for the eyes. Essentially, they are also like a shield against dust, wind, debris particles, foreign bodies, and other potential contaminants.
Picking glasses over contact lenses may also prove to be cost-effective. From a budget standpoint, eyeglasses can last for years with proper care and minimal maintenance. While if you go for contacts, you need to buy new ones after a certain period of time and invest in products for their proper storage and maintenance.
Even though choosing glasses over contact lenses has lots of advantages, there are some minor disadvantages we have to note, too. Some of the cons of wearing eyeglasses include:
- Obstructed vision
- Limited mobility
- Reflections and glare
- Prone to breakage
The frames of glasses can obstruct peripheral vision and create blind spots. While this does not affect most people in their everyday life, it can be particularly problematic for people who drive a lot or participate in sports.
Another drawback of glasses is that they can slip down the nose or fall off during physical activity or sports. In cold weather or during activities that produce sweat, they can also become fogged up and create an unpleasant situation for the wearer.
Let's also not forget that glasses can produce reflections and glare that can be distracting and reduce visibility in certain lighting conditions. Last but not least, eyeglasses can break easily, which may result in the need for expensive repairs or replacement.
How to Take Care of Eyeglasses? (Maintenance Tips)
Taking proper care of your eyeglasses can extend their lifespan and ensure that they provide clear and comfortable vision.
Here are some tips:
Handle your glasses with care
When taking off or putting on your glasses, use both hands and gently grip the frame at the bridge or temples. Avoid dropping them or sitting on them, as this can cause the frame to bend or the lenses to scratch or damage.
Clean your glasses regularly
Use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean your glasses regularly. Avoid using paper towels or tissues, as these can scratch the lenses. You can also use a lens cleaning solution, special glasses wipes, or soap and water to clean your glasses.
Store your glasses properly
When you are not wearing your glasses, store them in a case to protect them from dust, scratches, and other damage. Avoid leaving your glasses in hot or humid areas, as this can cause the lenses to warp or the frame to bend.
Have your glasses adjusted and serviced regularly
Regularly adjust and service your glasses with the help of an optician or eyewear professional. They can check the fit and alignment of your eyeglasses, tighten loose screws, and make any necessary repairs.
Use a neck strap or cord
If you are prone to misplacing your glasses or dropping them, consider using a neck strap or cord to keep them secure.
By following these tips and taking proper care of your eyeglasses, you can ensure a crisp and comfortable vision for years to come.
Contact Lenses for Correcting Vision
Contact lenses are a newer option for correcting vision but they could be just as effective as eyeglasses, especially in cases of myopia (nearsightedness). Contacts are thin, clear disks that are placed directly on the eye's surface, and are held in place by the natural tearfilm that covers the eye.
Contact Lenses Advantages
Contact lenses have several advantages over glasses, including:
+ Unobstructed vision
+ Greater mobility
+ No reflections or glare
+ Natural appearance
Unlike glasses, contact lenses do not obstruct peripheral vision, and do not create blind spots. Regular drivers and athletes can severely benefit from this advantage. Moreover, contact lenses move with the eyes. So you do not have to worry about them slipping or falling off when you are exercising or playing sports.
Another great benefit of using contacts is that contact lenses do not produce reflections or glare. That means they can provide better visibility in certain lighting conditions.
If you are going after a natural appearance or simply do not like yourself with eyeglasses, contact lenses are the way to go. They do not obstruct the face in any way or hide features like glasses can. In addition, there are some types of contact lenses that would temporarily alter your eye color, iris shape, and other eye features while wearing them.
Contact Lenses Disadvantages
Of course, there are some downsides to choosing contact lenses over eyeglasses. Here is a list of some of these disadvantages:
- Higher cost
- Care and maintenance
- Potential for eye infections
- Limited availability
Overall, contact lenses can be more expensive than glasses. And they require ongoing replacement and maintenance which often makes them more expensive in the long run. On the topic of special care and maintenance, if you wear contacts, make sure you are always cleaning them properly and storing them in a contact lens container with the appropriate solution.
Improper care of contact lenses can lead to eye infections, which can be quite serious and sometimes potentially lead to vision loss. There is also a high potential for irritation and eye infections if you forget them in your eyes for too long, sleep without removing them or you get any particles or dirty/salt water in your eyes while wearing the lenses.
Lastly, please beware that contact lenses may seem like an easy solution to vision problems but they are not suitable for all individuals. People with certain eye conditions or allergies are not advised to wear contacts. Learn more about these conditions in the next few paragraphs.
Why some people cannot wear contact lenses?
Do not throw away your glasses or discard the possibility to wear glasses just yet. While contact lenses can be a great option for many people, some individuals may not be able to wear them due to their ongoing eye conditions.
Here are some of the most common eye conditions that can make it difficult or impossible to wear contact lenses:
Dry eye syndrome
People with dry eye syndrome may find contact lenses uncomfortable or irritating, as the lenses can further dry out the eyes.
Contact lenses could exacerbate eye allergies in some individuals, leading to itchiness, redness, and eye discomfort.
People with current or recent eye infections may not be able to wear contact lenses until the infection has been treated and resolved.
Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
This type of inflammation of the eye occurs as a result of a viral or bacterial infection. Contact lenses can further irritate the eyes and potentially spread the infection, so it's generally advisable to avoid wearing contacts until the condition clears up.
After certain eye surgeries, such as LASIK or cataract surgery, individuals may need to avoid wearing contact lenses during the recovery period to reduce the risk of complications.
Individuals with corneal abnormalities, like keratoconus or corneal scarring, may not be able to wear contact lenses or may require special lenses to address their condition.
There are several other conditions that can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable or difficult, such as certain autoimmune disorders or chronic eye conditions.
Before making a decision on the glasses vs contact lenses dilemma, it is crucial to talk to an eye doctor or optometrist. That would help determine whether contact lenses are a suitable option for your eyes and to get a proper fitting and prescription.
The Verdict: Glasses vs Contact Lenses
Glasses are easy to use, cost-effective, and provide eye protection, but can obstruct vision and limit mobility. Contact lenses provide unobstructed vision, greater mobility, and a natural appearance, but can be more expensive and require ongoing care and maintenance.
There is no right or wrong verdict right here. Ultimately, the choice between glasses and contact lenses is a personal one that should reflect one's lifestyle, vision needs, health status, and budget.
While both vision correction options have ups and downs, in the end, it is indeed an individual choice, but it is one that requires an individual approach and an individual examination by an eye doctor.
Learn more about eye care and eye health in our ophthalmology blog for patients.
All medical facts were checked by Atanas Bogoev M.D.