Glasses vs. Contacts: Which one is better?

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The great debate

Are glasses better than contacts? Or are contacts better than glasses?

Contact lenses and glases can both help treat common refractive errors (ie nearsightedness and farsightedness) by bending light to focus it properly onto the retina! There are some key differences between contacts and glasses so read on to find out!

Contact Lenses

Millions of people wear contact lenses everyday. Contact lenses are thin, curved lenses that fit over the front of your eye. Each contact lens is made out of different material (that is typically unique to each manufacturer). Contact lenses need to be fitted by a professional. Each material is different and people can react differently to different contacts. If a contact lens is improperly fit, this can result in serious side effects to your eye health. This is why contacts can not be sold without a valid prescription and assessment (at least in Alberta, Canada). There are many benefits of using a contact lenses such as:

  • Enhancing your appearance (colour contacts and circle lenses are available specifically to enhance your appearance!)
  • Great for physical activity
  • No foggy glasses in the winter
  • Improved peripheral vision

Wearing contacts full time however, can cause dry eye, irritation and increase your risk of eye infections. Proper hygiene is the most important thing when it comes to wearing contacts. You should always wash your hands before touching your eye and/or contact lenses. No sleeping in your contacts (not even naps!) and no contact with water that is not sterilized, including tap water (no showering, no swimming, no rinsing your case or lens with tap water either). Improper hygiene can actually result in serious eye infections that can lead blindness, which is the biggest risk to wearing contact lenses.

Glasses

Photo taken by Dr. Jillian Wong

Photo taken by Dr. Jillian Wong

Glasses consist of lenses that are mounted into a frame of your choosing. All glasses made by OPT are custom made to your prescription, then custom fitted to your face!

Glasses have many benefits:

  • Glasses correct all types of vision problems
  • Glasses do not cause eye dryness or eye irritation because they do not contact your eyeball directly
  • They last for a long time (as long as they are good quality and you take care of them!) and do not need frequent replacements
  • Glasses can be used by any age group, including infants
  • Protect your eyes from direct injury

The downside to glasses is that some people do not like how they look in glasses (even though nowadays glasses can be super fashionable!) Glasses can also be expensive depending on the quality of the frames. Bulky frames, decrease in peripheral vision and the oh so annoying fogging when you come in from the cold can also be annoying downfalls to wearing glasses. Nonetheless, even if you wear contacts every day, YOU STILL NEED A PAIR OF USEABLE GLASSES. The reason for this is that you cannot wear contacts all the time because of the risk of infection. The most prime examples would be if you are sick, you should avoid wearing contacts as the virus/bacteria can accumulate on the lens. Another example would be if you ended up in the hospital, you would want to switch to glasses since you cannot sleep in your contacts.

In the debate between contact lenses vs glasses, the winner is whichever suits the user’s needs or preference. Glasses will almost always provide better quality of vision (because they are custom made while contact lenses typically are made according to manufacturer standards that optometrists adapt your glasses prescription to). Glasses are also the safer option since there is no risk for infection or dryness. In Dr. Wong's opinion, wearing glasses for the majority of the time then using dailies for special occasions and physical activity is the best of both worlds! If you are interested in getting contact lenses, book an appointment and we would be happy to see you!