Contact lenses vs glasses: Which are best for you?
Choosing to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses for vision correction generally depends on personal preferences, which includes lifestyle, comfort, convenience and budget. One is not necessarily better than the other; each has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of vision, ease of use and eye health so, the question arises - contact lenses or glasses, which are best for you?
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Anurag Wahi, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, shared, “When you wear glasses, you have the convenience of being able to take them off at any time of day. You won’t need to worry about cleaning them right away or stocking up on a new set because your glasses can be worn as long as you need them. Meanwhile, wearing contact lenses is different. You will need to remove them as directed by your ophthalmologist and clean them often to prevent them from irritating your eyes.”
He added, “Contact lenses and glasses alike offer superior optical correction based on your prescription. However, since contact lenses are applied to your eyes, they cover your whole field of view and give you the best central and side vision, making for the best eyewear experience. Just remember that contact are not for everyone. Your ophthalmologist will need to perform several tests during your eye exam to ensure contact lenses are right for your eyes. The doctor may also inquire about your lifestyle, such as if you use a digital screen a lot because contacts and computer time don’t often mix well.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Vidya Nair Chaudhry, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmology and Refractive Surgery at Aakash Healthcare Dwarka, revealed, “In terms of a comparison between the two, wearing glasses reduces the need to touch your eyes, which reduces the risk of irritation or infection. If you have dry or sensitive eyes, glasses will not make the situation worse, as contact lenses can. Keep in mind that if you wear contact lenses full-time, you should also have a current pair of glasses on hand in case you need to stop wearing them due to an eye infection or irritation, or simply want to rest your eyes. People with high powers do benefit from contact lenses as high-powered glasses can induce optical aberrations. Also, in diseases like keratoconus specialized contact lenses are required for sharp vision.”
Insisting that before choosing between contacts and glasses, one should keep in mind that each has advantages and disadvantages in terms of vision, ease of use and eye health, Dr Neeraj Sanduja, MBBS, MS - Ophthalmology, Ophthalmologist and Eye Surgeon listed some advantages and disadvantages of both contact lens and glasses.
Advantages of eyeglasses:
1. Wearing glasses reduces the need to touch your eyes, which reduces the likelihood of irritating or infecting your eyes.
2. If you have dry or sensitive eyes, glasses will not aggravate the problem as much as contact lenses can.
3. In the long run, glasses are less expensive than contact lenses. You don't have to replace your glasses as frequently (unless you break them!) and if your prescription changes, you may be able to keep your current frames and just replace the lenses.
4. Frames are trendy and can reveal a lot about your personality and style — the appearance of your glasses can make a big statement.
5. Glasses provide some protection against environmental factors like wind, dust, and debris.
Disadvantages of eyeglasses:
1. Since eyeglasses are about 12mm (half an inch) away from your eyes, your peripheral vision may be distorted. When they first start wearing glasses or change prescriptions, many people report difficulty focusing on objects and blurry vision.
2. Some people dislike wearing glasses because they believe it detracts from their facial aesthetics or hides their features.
3. If you wear glasses with a strong prescription, the edges of your lenses may be thick and unappealing, or your eyes may appear unnaturally minified or magnified.
4. The elements can cause your vision to be obstructed or blurred by precipitation collecting on your lenses or when they fog up in cold weather.
5. Some frames can cause headaches and general discomfort by exerting constant pressure on your nose and behind your ears.
Advantages of contact lenses:
1. Contact lenses conform to the curvature of your eye, giving you a wider field of vision and causing fewer vision distortions and obstructions than glasses.
2. Contact lenses do not interfere with sports and exercises.
3. Contact lenses are not affected by weather and, unlike glasses, do not fog up in cold weather.
4. Some contact lenses have the ability to reshape your cornea while you sleep. Overnight orthokeratology (Ortho-k) corrects myopia temporarily, allowing you to see clearly the next day without the need for glasses or contacts.
Disadvantages of contact lenses:
1. Some people have difficulty applying contact lenses to their eyes (but proper technique and practice should rectify this in most cases).
2. Contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your eye and can cause or worsen dry eye syndrome.
3. If you frequently use a computer, wearing contact lenses will most likely exacerbate the symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
4. To avoid potentially serious eye infections, contact lenses require daily lens care and lens case cleaning. Consider daily disposables if you are unable to commit to the care and replacement cycle of your contacts.
5. If you fall asleep while wearing daily contact lenses, your eyes will be dry, gritty, red, and irritated when you wake up.
6. Contacts are costly to buy and maintain.