Have you ever wondered why some people choose glasses over contact lenses? And why do others choose contacts over glasses? If you haven’t tried one or the other, what are you missing?
Contact lenses and glasses each have unique features that provide distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Contact lenses aren’t exactly a replacement for glasses altogether.
Even if you prefer contact lenses as your mode of vision correction, it’s always a good idea to have a reliable pair of back-up glasses.
The basics on eyeglasses
When you first find out you need vision correction, you’ll usually be offered glasses to start.
There are a number of options available when choosing a set of glasses, including:
Glasses frames can be a fashion accessory. There are various shapes, sizes, and materials available to suit your individual needs. Some people choose to get different frames for different occasions, such as a sporty pair for daily wear and a dressier pair for special occasions.
Glasses lens materials
Glasses can be made of various materials depending on your needs.
For children, safety materials are recommended. The same goes for those who only have vision in one eye, in order to protect the good eye from potential vision loss. Those who engage in activities where there is a risk of impact to the eye, such as woodworking, are also recommended to wear a safety lens material in their glasses.
There are also lens material options for those who have high prescriptions, in order to minimize lens thickness.
Glasses lens designs
Glasses can be made with one power for a single range of vision, or with multiple powers for multiple ranges of vision.
Single vision glasses are used for those who only need one refractive power in their lenses.
Bifocal lenses are used for those who need a different power for distance versus reading. These lenses have a line separating the two powers.
Progressive lenses are similar to bifocals, but without the line. They have a continuous range of vision from top bottom to enable seamless vision from far to near and in between.
Glasses lens coatings
Anti-reflection and anti-scratch coatings can help with the clarity and durability of glasses lenses.
Glasses lens tints and filters
Various tints can be incorporated into lenses as well, from a subtle rose hue to a dark sunglass. An ultraviolet (UV) filter can also be incorporated into the lenses to protect the eyes from harmful rays. Some glasses come with an optional clip-on sunglass.
The basics on contact lenses
Contact lenses are an attractive alternative to eyeglasses for some people.
Freedom from frames
While some people like to accessorize with glasses, others prefer not to wear anything on their face. Contact lens wearers enjoy not having to worry about glasses slipping, sliding, or fogging, as they go about their daily activities.
Contact lens materials
Contact lenses come in various materials. These materials influence the comfort of the lenses, as well as their recommended replacement schedule. Most people are able to find a lens material and schedule that works for them. However, some people aren’t able to find comfort in contact lenses, especially those with severe dry eyes or allergies.
Contact lens designs
Similar to glasses, contact lenses are available in a single vision or multifocal design.
Single vision designs are used for those only requiring distance correction.
Multifocal designs are used for those who suffer from presbyopia, an age-related decline in near vision. Multifocal lenses enable a balance between near and far vision.
Another contact lens correction option for those with presbyopia is monovision. This involves wearing a contact lens for distance correction in one eye and a contact lens for near in the other eye. The brain learns which eye to use for the specific task at hand.
Contact lens tints and filters
Colored contact lenses are available to enhance or change eye color. Some contact lenses also incorporate a UV filter for protection from harmful rays. However, UV-filtering contact lenses are not a replacement for sunglasses. This is because contacts don’t cover your entire eyeball, nor do they shield your eyelids. Sunglasses are needed for full protection, and they can be non-prescription.
Contact lens considerations
Contact lenses do carry a risk of infection. They need to be properly cleaned and cared for, to minimize this risk. Risky practices to avoid include sleeping or swimming in contact lenses.
Whether to choose eyeglasses or contact lenses depends on your lifestyle and priorities.
Some people like the bold look of new frames, while others would prefer to change their eye color. One person might benefit from the eye protection that glasses provide while another may enjoy the freedom from having something on their face.
Even if you do prefer to wear contacts, it is still a good idea to invest in a reliable pair of glasses. They give your eyes a break and are an important back-up in the case of eye irritation or infection.