Contact Lenses Versus Glasses: Pros and Cons
The choice between contact lenses and glasses can be a complicated one. With new technologies, there have never been more options on the market for a wider group of people. With a quick internet search, you'll discover no shortage of articles touting the superiority of one over the other. Some people prefer glasses and can't stand the thought of putting a lens directly on their eyeballs. While others find incredible comfort from contact lenses and can't imagine having to deal with glasses.
Whether you decide to wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction mostly relies upon personal preferences. Way of life, comfort, convenience, budget, and feel should all factor into your decision-making process. But before choosing, remember that one isn't better than the other; each has its upsides and downsides.
There are two main types of eyeglasses: single vision glasses and multifocal glasses.
Single vision glasses have just a single optical prescription correction, and they distribute focus evenly over the surface area of the lens. This type of lens is designed to benefit people who require correction of farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism. This is the most common type of glasses.
Multifocal glasses contain two or more prescriptions to help correct your vision. Multifocal glasses help to correct vision within near, intermediate, and far distances. In the past, you could spot this type of lens by the line between the two sections. But modern multifocal lenses often look seamless. If you have multiple prescriptions, you would require some type of multifocal glasses.
Multifocal lenses come in different forms:
Bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses are the most common types of multifocal lenses.
Bifocals have a correction on the upper portion of the lens for far distances and the lower half of the lens for near distances.
Trifocals have three zones. A correction on the upper portion of the lens for far distances, a correction in the middle portion of the lens for intermediate distances, and a correction in the lower portion of the lens for near distances.
Progressive lenses can offer the same benefits of bifocals and trifocals but without a visible partitioning line. They have a smooth transition between the various vision zones.
Different materials of glasses:
Glasses lenses used to be made of glass, as the name implies. Fast forward to today, and most are made of some form of plastic. Plastic lenses are lighter, more resistant to shattering, and can be treated with a filter to shield your eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) light.
Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses are the most types of the newer plastic lenses. They both are an excellent choice for anyone who may be hard on the lenses as they are impact resistant. Such as anyone wearing glasses while playing a sport or small children who tend to rough on nearly everything.
Glasses - Pros
- Eyeglasses are simple. You put them on and go. You don't have to bother with any extra care or cleaning items.
- You can accessorize your style with a variety of frame choices.
- You don't have to touch your eyes.
- If you have sensitive eyes, glasses won't irritate them.
- Glasses, for the most part, are less expensive. You won't have to replace your glasses as regularly unless your prescription changes or you break them.
- Frames can say a lot about your personality and style — the appearance of your glasses can offer a strong expression of your style.
- Glasses offer some protection from environmental factors such as wind, dust, and debris.
Glasses - Cons
- Some of your peripheral vision will be lost. Glasses don't completely wrap around your head. As such, some of your peripheral vision will remain uncorrected.
- You may not like the feel of the glasses on your nose or the weight on your ears.
- You may not like how you look in glasses.
- Lenses can easily fog up. Weather conditions and wearing a COVID face mask being two of the most common causes.
- They may hinder your athletic performance and thus not be the best choice for sports or exercise.
- If you have a particularly strong prescription, glasses may cause your eyes to appear slightly distorted from their actual size.
Contact lenses are thin plates of plastic or glass that sit directly on your eye to correct vision. There are two broad types, soft and hard contact lenses (rigid gas permeable). Contact lenses are the newer technology of the two vision correction devices, and many would argue they are superior over glasses.
Soft contacts are the most common type nowadays. Most users find them more comfortable than hard contacts since they hold more water and the lens is more flexible. They mold to the shape of your eyes and stay put very well. But they do tend to be less durable than hard contacts.
Hard contact lenses, also known as rigid gas permeable lenses, are less common than soft contacts, but they certainly have their purpose. For example, they can help slow the development of nearsightedness and can correct most astigmatism. However, you have to wear them consistently for your eyes to adjust to them, and they tend to move around more often than soft contact lenses.
Hard contact lenses last years before requiring replacement if proper care is taken of them. Soft contact lenses, on the other hand, will require replacement more often. How often? Well, that depends on the type of soft contact lenses. There are three primary types of soft contacts: daily disposables, monthlies, and extended wear contact lenses.
Daily disposables are worn for a single day then thrown away, as the name implies. These lenses are preferable if the user wants to avoid daily lens storage and care. However, they tend to be more expensive than extended wear contact lenses. Disposables can be more troublesome when traveling as you'll need to carry as many pairs as the number of days you'll be traveling. However, there are travel contact lens kits available to store extra pairs and provide other tools for removing and inserting your contact lenses.
Monthly contact lenses are thicker and more durable than daily disposable contact lenses. Monthlies can be worn each day for about a month before you will need to switch to a new pair. Monthlies are meant to be worn during the day, then taken out at night and stored in contact lens solution while you sleep. Some users dislike monthlies because of the added upkeep and maintenance of the lenses required. However, travel contact lens kits can make dealing with monthlies easier if you need to remove or put in your contacts outside of your home.
Extended wear (EW) contact lenses are very thin lenses made of silicone hydrogel material. This advanced lens material enables them to "breathe" much better than regular soft lenses. This allows them to be worn continuously for extended periods of time.
Most extended wear soft contact lenses are approved for up to seven days of continuous wear, depending on the manufacturer. Some extended wear lenses are approved for up to 30 days of continuous wear.
Contact Lenses - Pros
- Contacts sit directly on your eye, so vision, especially peripheral vision, is unobstructed.
- Contact lenses don't get in the way when playing sports and working out.
- Contact lenses won't clash with your outfit or personal style.
- Contacts regularly aren't affected by climate conditions and won't fog up like glasses.
- Travel contact lens kits can help make contact lens care and maintenance more manageable.
Contact Lenses - Cons
- Some people have a hard time applying a contact lens to their eye.
- Contacts decrease the amount of oxygen received by your eye, so it can lead to dry eye symptoms in some individuals.
- If you work at a computer for extended periods, wearing contact lenses can lead to eye strain.
- Non-daily disposable contacts require proper care, maintenance, and storage—requiring supplies such as a contact lens solution and a contact lens case.
- Falling asleep in non-EW contacts leads to waking up with dry, irritated eyes.
There you have it! The pros and cons of glasses versus contact lenses. Now you can make your informed choice about which is best for you. Maybe you'll even get both!