It’s estimated that approximately 60 percent of the population uses vision correction, with the most popular options being contact lenses and glasses. While your specific situation may demand that you use one method over the other, plenty of people are good candidates for either corrective solution. If you’ve been given your choice of glasses or contacts, getting the facts about both options will help you make the best, informed decision for yourself.
The Advantages of Glasses
Eyeglasses were invented in Italy between the years 1268 and 1289, and bifocals are generally credited to Benjamin Franklin. Glasses offer up great optics for a wide variety of vision issues, including presbyopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and myopia. Some advantages include:
- Crystal-clear optics that can be crafted for any prescription.
- A wide variety of frames and tints available to allow you many fashionable choices.
- No irritation to the eyes.
- Easy to put on and remove for different tasks.
- Polycarbonate lenses are shatter-resistant and protect your eyes from dust, raindrops and wind.
- Life-long glasses wearers often view their glasses as an integral part of their face and do not like their appearance without them.
The Disadvantages of Glasses
With all of their positive attributes, glasses do have their negatives. Some of the disadvantages of glasses include:
- You may experience nausea or vertigo due to your extreme peripheral vision not being corrected, especially if your frames are small.
- Those sensitive to plastics and metals may experience discomfort where the nose pads and temples make contact with skin.
- High prescriptions can be heavy on the nose and ears, bringing on sinus congestion, migraines and discomfort.
- Normal glasses are not safe for playing sports and those who are clumsy may be frustrated by how easy they are to break.
The Advantages of Contact Lenses
Contacts were first envisioned in the early 1500s by famed artist and invention Leonardo da Vinci, but only became widely available in the 1980s. Since then, their popularity and ease of use has only increased. Some of the advantages of contacts include:
- Vision is corrected in the entire field of vision, including your peripheral vision.
- Soft contact lenses are safer for sports and, once inserted, can be forgotten for the day.
- Contacts do not fog up, slide down your nose or weigh heavily on your face. If a lens in scratched or gets dirty, you can discard it and use another.
- In some cases, contacts are much cheaper than specialty glasses.
The Disadvantages of Contacts
Not everyone is able to tolerate contact lenses, just as not everyone can master inserting and removing them. Other disadvantages include:
- Contact lenses are only manufactured in certain prescriptions. You may have to accept a slightly different power than you need.
- Some people experience irritation, burning or blurred vision with extended wear.
- Depending on your prescription and brand needs, contacts can be much more expensive than glasses.
- Unless your prescription is very mild, you will likely want to purchases glasses to use as back up. This can increase your costs.
Glasses and contact lenses are both excellent options for vision correction. As with many medical decisions, your choice is highly personal and individual. Your optometrist can work with you to fit your vision correction to your needs, and he or she can also order you trial contact lenses if you’re curious about trying them.