The pros and cons of glasses and contact lenses
It can be difficult to decide whether glasses or contact lenses are right for you.
Where glasses may be better in some areas, contact lenses are an improvement in others. And of course there is the third option, Laser Eye Surgery—an elective procedure that can eliminate the need to use both glasses or contact lenses.
But for most people, their entrance into the world of vision correction begins with rectangular frames or thin see through lenses. So to get a better idea which is right for you, let’s take a cold hard look at them and compare some of their biggest pros and cons.
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The pros and cons of glasses
Glasses certainly do have many positive points when compared to their more recent counterparts.
Perhaps the biggest benefit is that anyone can wear them, regardless of age, making them a simple and quick solution to getting a grip of vision problems.
They can also be extremely accurate in vision correction and are easy to update when your eye prescription changes, meaning that you’ll always see what you are supposed to see.
Many think that glasses don’t suit them and look silly, but on the contrary there’s a huge trend for wearing non-prescription glasses simply because they look ‘cool’. Celebrities who wear glasses solely to look good include Jessica Alba, Tina Fey, and Emma Watson, and Elton John.
One major downside to wearing glasses is that they’re simply unsuitable for most (if not all) sports, as they easily fall off and get damaged. Whilst it’s true that some sports stars wear prescription goggles, most opt for contact lenses instead.
Long-term glasses use can also cost a pretty penny and leave unsightly marks on your nose. However, glasses are the overall safest form of vision correction; they don’t touch or change your eye at all meaning that they don’t put you are risk of infection. They may even prevent injury by stopping wind and debris from hitting your eyes, although you’ve got to be careful when your glasses fog up in cold or humid environments!
The pros and cons of contact lenses
Contact lenses are great for solving many of the issues with wearing glasses.
First off, there is no restrictive frame around your vision, which means you won’t have to worry about them looking silly or matching your outfit. Yet if you really like how you look in glasses, you always have the option to get a non-prescription pair.
What’s more, because there is no intrusive frame stuck on your face, no-one will know that you need them unless you tell them—unless one falls out and you are on your hands and knees searching for it. This more worryingly would also mean a significant sum of money down the drain.
Contact lenses provide greater visual clarity than glasses do, but the compromise in wearing them is they put you at a much greater risk of infection and eye-damage. For example, not removing them regularly and cleaning them according to the guidelines, could cause you many problems. They also aren’t very good in extreme weather conditions or when you go swimming, so you’ll still need those prescription goggles.
If neither takes your fancy, why not find out more about the third and most recent form of vision correction treatment: Laser Eye Surgery.
And if you’re already fed up with them both, contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators to discuss the benefits of choosing Laser Eye Surgery in more detail.
The Pros And Cons Of Glasses And Contact Lenses09:00LVC
Wouldn't You Rather Wear Contacts
Do you wear glasses? If so, you may not realize what contact lenses, and especially GP contacts, can offer you. Here's a comparison chart to help you decide which vision option is best for you. (Many people choose both!)
|The distance between your eye and the lens sometimes creates distortion.||Worn right on the eye, for more natural vision.|
|Poor peripheral (side) vision.||Your entire field of view is in focus. This is especially important in sports and in driving, where you need to see as much around you as possible.|
|Constant awareness of frame and lens edge, as well as reflections off the backside of the lens.||With contacts, no annoying obstructions or reflections are in view.|
|Uncomfortable weight on your face and ears. Periodic need for tightening or other adjustment.||No weight and resulting discomfort. No frame constantly slipping down your nose.|
|Glasses fog up with changes in temperature.||Contacts don't fog up.|
|Glasses are a distraction during games and sports.||No distractions, which makes contact lenses a favorite among athletes.|
|Fashionable and inexpensive non-prescription sunglasses are not an option if you wear eyeglasses.||A whole wardrobe of fashionable, functional, affordable sunglasses is available to contact lens wearers.|
|Glasses need to complement your outfit. For instance, casual frames may not suit evening attire. Or colors may clash.||Contacts match everything you wear.|
|Eyeglasses are annoying to wear in rain or snow.||Contact lenses won't collect precipitation and blur your vision.|
|Glasses are an unnatural, distracting barrier between your eyes and the world.||Contacts don't detract from your natural appearance; they let people see your eyes.|
There are many differences between glasses and contact lenses, but there are some similarities, too:
Both require careful handling and cleaning.
Glasses must be sprayed and wiped several times a day, while contacts need varying degrees of care, depending on the type. GP contact lenses are particularly fast and easy to clean.
Both can correct astigmatism.
Astigmatism is an irregular cornea shape that distorts vision. Many people think only glasses can correct astigmatism, but contact lenses do as well. GP contacts are often preferred for correcting astigmatism because they hold their shape, thereby retaining the proper visual correction, better than soft lenses.
Both are affordable.
When you consider that you wear glasses or contact lenses every single day of your life, the amount you spend on them is far less than for any other item in your wardrobe. Considering how important they are to the quality of your life, they're invaluable.
Since glasses have few, if any, advantages over contact lenses, you may decide to throw yours away!
But if you're still undecided about which vision option is best for you, talk it over with your eye care practitioner.
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[Page updated February 2013]