Contact lenses vs glasses – which one is the better of the two? Well, it mostly depends on personal preferences. There are many factors that you must consider before reaching any conclusion. For instance, you should consider your lifestyle, convenience, comfort, budget, and many other factors in your decision-making process.
Both contact lenses and glasses have unique advantages and disadvantages, but it’s ultimately personal preference that will help you decide which one is better for you. Eyeglasses offer various benefits as compared to contact lenses. For example, eyeglasses require little maintenance and cleaning. Also, you don’t have to touch your eyes whenever you need to wear or adjust them.
On the other hand, contact lenses have their benefits. They sit directly on your eye; therefore, the peripheral vision remains unobstructed. Contact lenses are also a good option for sports, dancing, and other recreational activities. . For people with very high powers, the vision quality is often better in contact lenses. Also, spectacles can be too thick with limited frame options in such cases.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of contact lenses and glasses to make the best decision on contact lenses vs glasses, according to your requirements.
Different types of contact lenses
There are different contact lenses, and each has its benefits. Let’s learn more about all types of contact lenses: –
1. Rigid Gas-permeable (RGP)
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses are also known as gas permeable glasses. These are made of rigid plastic that enables oxygen to pass through to the eyes. The rigidity of the material allows for exceptionally clear vision and the oxygen permeability is typically more than conventional soft contact lenses. The rigidity makes them difficult to adapt to and it may take days to become comfortable in these lenses.
3. Soft contact lenses
Soft lenses are also known as hydrogel or silicone hydrogel lenses. These are thin, moist, and made up of water-absorbing materials that give them a gel-like feel. In Hydrogel contact lenses Around 50% weight of a soft lens is due to the water it contains. It makes them extremely comfortable to wear. But these can dry faster and have limited oxygen permeability. Silicone-hydrogels on the other hand have limited water content but higher oxygen permeability. Overall, soft contact lenses are the most popular type of contact lens because they are easy to adapt to and most people begin to feel comfortable in them within the first few minutes.
Advantages and disadvantages of contact lenses
Advantages of contact lenses: –
1. Corrects a large variety of refractive errors
Contact lenses are designed for correcting refractive errors, like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. One can also opt for specialty lenses specially engineered to address specific issues like corneal irregularities.
2. Variety of lenses
Thanks to technological advancements, different types of contact lenses are available that are made up of different materials. These advancements allow for healthy, hygienic, safe, and relatively care-free contact lens usage.
3. Unhindered vision
Another advantage of wearing contact lenses is you get to enjoy the feeling of normalcy. Since contact lenses are applied to your cornea, you can enjoy the freedom of doing your daily chores freely. There is a larger field of vision. Peripheral vision is normal like someone without spectacles. Unlike eyeglasses, you don’t have to worry about water splashes, steam or fog while wearing contact lenses.
Disadvantages of contact lenses: –
1. Dry eyes
Some people may temporarily experience dryness of the eyes with Contact lenses. This can limit the use of contact lenses or make it uncomfortable. Sometimes it may be possible to manage the situation with lubricating drops. But in severe cases, one may be advised to be off contact lenses.
2. Limited oxygen supply
Since contact lenses sit directly on the cornea, they cover the entire cornea. Due to this, the amount of oxygen reaching your eyes may decrease. This may sometimes cause eyes to feel a bit tired, red or dry.
Hence, you should choose soft or silicone hydrogel lenses because they are designed to transmit more oxygen than conventional lens materials. These make contact lens use more comfortable than conventional contact lenses.
3. Diminished corneal reflex
This is a very long term complication found in people who have been using contacts over a lifetime. The corneal reflex is the spontaneously shutting of the eyelids when something touches the cornea – the front transparent surface of the eye. Long term contact lens users may experience diminished corneal reflex in the eye.
4. Corneal Abrasion
Improper use of contact lenses can also lead to problems such as corneal abrasion. They can cause this situation if they are not fitted properly or if you have dry eyes. Therefore, it is also recommended that you should never sleep with your contact lenses on as it increases the risk of corneal abrasion.
5. Risk of allergies and infections:
With modern-day frequent and planned replacement modalities, infections are rare. Also, the incidence of allergies in contact lens users has drastically reduced. However, rarely, there are issues of allergic reactions under the eyelids. Extended wear or use of contact lenses during sleep is more associated with the occurrence of infections.
6. Regular care
There is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for safe hygienic and comfortable contact lens use. Wash your hands with soap and water before inserting and removing contact lenses. Except for daily disposable contact lenses, all other contact lenses should be cleaned and stored in a fresh solution in a lens case after each use. Preferably they should also be cleaned before each use.
Always discard the remaining solution in the lens case and use a fresh solution for storage. Do not top off the lens case by pouring the fresh solution over the leftover solution in the lens case. Clean lens case every month. Replace the lens case every three months. When not using contact lenses, replace the solution in the lens case every week. Discard a solution bottle within 90 days of opening.
Advantages of Glasses
1. Lesser touch points
Unlike contact lenses, you don’t have to touch your eyes to wear eyeglasses. Therefore, wearing eyeglasses reduces the likelihood of touching your eyes, which could increase the risk of eye infection.
2. Less expensive
Glasses can be less expensive than contact lenses.
3. Easy to maintain
There is hardly any maintenance to spectacles except cleaning them once or twice a day. With most Anti-reflection coated and plastic lenses, it is advisable not to wipe them dry. Always put them under running water or dip the lenses in a container of fresh, clean water before wiping them with a recommended cloth.
3. Style statement
Gone are the days when glasses were considered “nerdy.” Today, fashion eyeglasses are used to improve the overall appearance and to reflect one’s personality and style.
4. Protection against Wind and environmental particle
Spectacles act as physical barriers from the dust particles, and other suspended particles in the environment. They also shield the eyes from the wind. Hence, they have a great protective function.
Disadvantages of eyeglasses
1. Limited field of vision
One of the most common issues that glass-wearers face is the experience of a limited field of vision compared to people without spectacles. The edge of the lens is the limit of their clear vision.
Beyond that either the rim of the frame obstructs vision or it blurred vision outside the lens edge in rimless spectacles. Also, in higher powers, the vision tends to have higher magnification or minification towards the periphery. Advanced optics of Aspheric lenses helps address this to a large extent.
2. Sweat and Fog
Glass-wearers can understand how annoying it is when their glasses constantly slide down their faces when they sweat. Apart from this, people also face issues like fog on the glasses in monsoon, making it difficult for them to perform even simple tasks.
3. Adaptation issues
Spectacles can sometimes take some time to get used to. Especially if you have a high prescription then you may take a while to adapt from one frame to another. Also, often prescription power changes need some patience to get used to.
4. Nose marks and heaviness
Heavy and tight eyeglass frames can put pressure on the bridge of your nose and the sides of your head, which can leave marks on the skin. You can avoid this issue by purchasing lightweight eyeglasses from an experienced and reliable retailer like R. Kumar Opticians.
Here you can discuss the issues faced with your existing frames with the optical salesperson and optometrist. They will help you select a frame that’s trending yet fulfills the prescription lens requirement and addresses your issues with previous frames.
5. Image size
This is true usually for very high numbers. The image tends to be minified in high minus powers while the eyes look too small through them. Also in high plus powered spectacles, eyes seem big and bulging.
To some extent, aspheric lenses reduce this effect. However, it cannot be completely eliminated and is a disadvantage of viewing through spectacles.
How to Choose – Contact lenses vs glasses?
When it comes to contact lenses vs glasses, which one is better for you? It depends on a few factors, like how often you wear them and your lifestyle.
If you don’t want to get into the hassle of caring for your lenses, or feel that you don’t have the time to insert, remove and clean the lenses or are simply not ok with the thought of inserting a foreign object in the eyes, the contact lenses may not be for you.
However, if you wear your glasses all the time, but are open to contact lenses, just not every day, then contact lenses might be a good option for occasional use like parties, functions, and recreational or sports activities. . If you find contact lenses to not be a hassle and enjoy the specs-free vision, then you can have contact lenses as the primary source of vision correction, every day.
However, it is recommended that even if you wear contact lenses each day for long hours, you should have the habit of using spectacles for at least one to two hours a day. You should use spectacles for some time in the morning and an hour or so before sleeping.
So how do you decide which is right for you? It depends on your individual needs. Talk to your optometrist and see what they recommend.
Ideally, one should keep the flexibility between the two primary modes of vision correction – spectacles and contact lenses. If you are primarily a spectacle user then occasional use of contact lenses will help you adapt to different situations and scenarios where spectacles can be a hindrance and also experiment with your appearance every once in a while.
If you are primarily a contact lens user then a daily habit of using spectacles in the morning and before bed gives you the flexibility to switch between contact lenses and spectacles. There are sometimes illnesses and sometimes out of laziness you cannot or do not want to wear lenses.
Sometimes, if you run out of solutions or have forgotten to carry it along on vacation, or have to rush out urgently, having the practice of spectacle use can come in handy. Also, you can sometimes opt for a different style in your looks by accessorizing with spectacles.
So, what’s the verdict? It’s a fine balance between a proper understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each of the two options and your lifestyle. Well, the advantages and disadvantages of contact lenses vs glasses discussed above would help you make the right choice.
Is it healthier to wear glasses or contacts?
Contact lenses do pose a higher risk than glasses, but most complications are due to poor hygiene and maintenance. If not maintained carefully, contact lenses can cause problems such as eye irritation, dry eyes syndrome, conjunctivitis, and many others.
Is it better to wear glasses or contacts while using the computer?
Excessive use of computers leads to less blinking. Due to this, the eyes tend to become drier. This can make contact lens use over long hours a bit uncomfortable.