What’s a better choice, eyeglasses or contact lenses? This is a question I am frequently asked by my patients. The answer to that question is not black and white. Considerations such as wearing time, comfort, lifestyle, current eye health status, and aesthetics all come into play when deciding whether contact lenses or glasses are better suited for the vision correction of the individual in question. It is also possible that both eyeglasses and contact lenses are a viable option simultaneously. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.
Contact lenses are great for athletes and people who love to be outdoors. Glasses can often fall off while being active, get in the way while exercising, or even pose a danger to the eye during physical activities. Contact lenses have been found to improve sports performance by up to 25% compared to glasses. Glasses can impede your athletic activities, because you may be preoccupied with damaging or breaking them. Contrary to popular belief, contact lenses won’t fall out during physical activities. They also provide far superior peripheral vision when compared to eyeglasses, which is important in many sports.
If you live in a climate with cold or wet weather, contact lenses are the better choice. Glasses fog up in cold weather. Your vision can also be obscured by precipitation. Contact lenses are not affected by the elements and can provide clear vision no matter what the temperature.
The largest criticism of glasses compared to contact lenses is that glasses can sometimes distort vision and reduce our feeling of freedom. Because glasses sit at a distance in front of the eye as opposed to directly on the eye, your peripheral vision may be obstructed by frames and can be difficult to adjust to. Contact lenses offer completely clear vision at all viewing angles because they move in concert with the eye. The size of what your visual perception registers is much closer to an object’s true size with contact lenses, and therefore you get better depth perception and more accurate vision.
See our comprehensive list of things to consider if you’re deciding on going with contact lenses.
Most people who prefer glasses over contacts will tell you one main benefit – you don’t have to touch your eye! Learning to apply contact lenses can make some people uncomfortable. With glasses, you can put them on and take them off with ease at any time. In the case where vision correction is required only part-time, such as for night driving or reading, glasses are the more obvious choice.
Glasses also pose less risk to eye health when compared to a device that must be worn on the eye. Contact lenses can cause dry eyes, and are not ideal for people that suffer greatly from ocular allergies or have reduced immune systems. When applying contacts, it’s necessary to keep your hands and the contacts clean to avoid contamination and eye infection. These risks are amplified if you wear your contact lenses to bed. Eyeglasses definitely require less maintenance, but just like contacts, should be cleaned regularly to maintain optimal vision and aesthetics.
If you like fashion and making statements with your style choices, glasses are a great choice. They can serve as a fashion accessory and can be used to convey an image. However, depending on the frame, sometimes glasses are out of place in a formal event or with certain outfits. Choosing the right frame colour and style is important if you want to use your frames to accessorize an outfit. See our collection of eyeglasses and designer frames that are sure to make a fashion statement.
Just like shoes and belts, more than one pair of eyeglasses is wise. One should always have a backup pair of glasses, especially if you require vision correction full-time. If you wear contact lenses primarily, you should have a pair of eyeglasses which can be used in cases of emergency.
Comprehensive Eye Exam and Eye Care Services
Glasses and contact lenses both have their benefits and drawbacks. I have just scratched the surface here of the considerations and options available for vision correction. If you are asking the question, “Which is a better option for me, glasses or contacts?”, you should schedule your comprehensive eye exam. We can then discuss the options available for you, the advantages and disadvantages as they relate to your lifestyle, vision needs and eye health, and determine the best choice(s) for you. I look forward to the opportunity to provide you with comprehensive eye care and sound advice for your vision needs.