Pros and Cons of Glasses and Contacts
Trying to decide between glasses or contacts? Thinking about switching from glasses to contacts or the other way around? This is a personal decision that many people out there will make each year. This decision can take a bit of trial and error, but some pros and cons can help, too! I will share with you from personal experience what I have learned about wearing glasses and contacts.
Pros of Glasses
1. Dry Eyes? Much Easier to Deal With
If you are anything like me, you may have dry eyes from time to time if not constantly. With glasses, I can use any type of eye drops without needing to worry if they are safe for contact lenses. I also don’t need to worry about my lenses drying out to where I can’t see and needing to reapply often. There are times when contacts made my already dry eyes worse. It did not matter if I was using the most hydrating brands of contacts or not. This may not be the same for everyone. If you are a dry eye sufferer, contacts may be a lot of trial and error before you find a brand you like.
2. Put Them On and Go
Glasses felt so much easier to put on and go, especially if I was in a rush to see something. There were times perhaps in the middle of the night I needed to see something in a rush. I did not have a back up pair of glasses and would need my contacts to see clearly. Contacts do take plenty of practice, and aren’t always convenient to put in to see something for a couple seconds or minutes. Even if contacts are your preferred choice, I do recommend a backup pair of glasses in case.
3. Extra Eye Gear Can Be Nice
I can’t tell you how many times something has almost gotten in my eyes, and my glasses caught it. It can be a pain to clean off glasses at times, but they have saved my eyes from substances that could have hurt badly. For example, hot cooking oil, some bit of food, a paper wad, or something of the sort.
4. They Can Be Fun to Pick Out
Some people hate picking out glasses and find it boring. On the other hand, if there are enough fun designs then let the fun begin! You can pick out glasses that you feel express yourself. If you get new glasses, people may notice. I usually get, “Hey! I like your new glasses!” or, “Did you get new glasses?” No one compliments on your new contacts unless you have colored ones. It can be fun to bring a friend, too!
5. Less Chances of Eye Infections
I remember for a while, I didn’t understand how bad eye infections could be. There was a time I wore a pair of contacts an extra week because I was out before my next appointment. Never do this! I ended up with itchy, sore, irritating bumps that made my vision foggy. This took months to heal. With contact lenses, there can be serious consequences for not washing your hands, handling, and cleaning your contacts properly. Sometimes, that may not even be enough. Don’t believe me? It’s true!
6. They May Cover Dark Circles Under Your Eyes
If you have dark rings, circles, or bags under your eyes then glasses may do an excellent job at covering them up.
7. It Is More Cost Effective
Doing the math, a good pair of glasses could cost me anywhere from $60 – $200+ depending on what design I chose, the lenses I needed, and if we have insurance that covers vision. You pay for a pair of glasses for a year. Sometimes at the end of the year, if your prescription hasn’t changed you may continue to wear them or get a new pair. If you have astigmatism with contacts, it is roughly $50 – $70 per box every two weeks (toric lenses). That can quickly add up to $500+ annually for contacts. Not to mention the cost for lens solution can quickly add up to $100+ per year.
8. It Might Be a Green Option
There is quite a bit of debate and opinion on this. Glasses may be a greener option than contact lenses. With contact lenses, I remember throwing out boxes, then plastic containers that the contacts came in, bottles of solution when they were empty, and the disposable contacts when their lifespan was over. The cardboard boxes, some solution bottles, and maybe some plastic containers may be recycled to help the contact lens wearer become more environmentally friendly. If you’re concerned about the environment, it may be worth looking into. Whether glasses are more green than contacts is up for you to decide. Eye glasses can often be worn and turned in to a recycle box at the optometrist office if you get a new pair and no longer need your old ones. If your optometrist office does not have a recycle box, you can more than likely find one at a different office.
9. May Be Better For Astigmatism
While I don’t think this has been proven in any study, I feel it was better for my astigmatism. With contacts, my astigmatism level was often higher than any of the contacts available could match. Often times, the optometrist would give me a prescription of the contacts with the closest astigmatism level possible. My prescription changed dramatically within six months and then again within another six months. I’m not sure what caused this, but wondered if estimating the astigmatism made my vision worse. This is once again unproven while there could have been many factors. Since wearing glasses, my eyesight hasn’t changed that dramatically.
10. Low Maintenance
Got a fingerprint smudge on your glasses? Maybe some dust? No problem! Whip out that lint free cloth and clean it off in a few seconds and you are ready to go. Have a hair in your contact lens? Have fun finding it if you do find it, and spend 10-20 minutes rinsing it with solution trying to find the pesky thing.
Cons of Glasses
1. They Magically Collect Skin Oils and Dust
You can clean off your glasses once, and magically they will be covered with dust, fingerprints, skin cells – you name it! Sometimes cleaning it off with a lint cloth takes a moment or two, but it may not even be a few hours before you need to clean them off again (depending on your environment).
2. People May Forget You Are Wearing Them
This may sound odd, but it makes sense in a way. It seems that my husband forgets I’m wearing glasses sometimes. You see, when we met I was a dedicated contact lens wearer. However, when I got glasses he would sometimes forget they were there and smudge them and accidentally smack them when moving his arm. There are times it still happens, but not as often. If you have kids, there are times when they smack into them and it will hurt….a lot.
3. May Not Be a Good Cosmetic Option
Glasses with every day use tend to leave indentations on the side of your head and sometimes on your nose. This can be frustrating when removing them and the indentations don’t go away by morning. This is more of a cosmetic issue than an actual health problem, but it can be annoying or feel unsightly.
4. Susceptible to the Elements
Rainy outside? Your vision will often be reduced to a blur. Rain drops will find their way to your glasses and stick. Umbrella’s can help, but it depends on the severity of the rain. This can be an annoying thing about glasses. This is especially true if you live in a humid area. Glasses will fog in humid areas to where you can’t see.
5. Masks May Be a Thing of the Past
Remember those huge selections of Halloween masks that go perfectly with your costume? With glasses, you can forget about 90% of them, as they will not fit your face properly with your glasses on. There may be alternatives to masks, but this can be a minor annoyance.
6. Theme Park and Beach Vacations
Afraid you’ll lose your glasses on the tallest or fastest roller coaster ever? While it is an understandable fear and can happen, gravity generally doesn’t allow it. At the Beach, you may feel that your glasses will get washed away. I can say I have been to the beach and theme parks with glasses and never had them fall off of my face nor did they make me feel awkward. This is because I bought Float Eyes (link below) to hold my glasses in place. I could also have a chance at retrieving them if they fell into the water. I would cleverly loop the strand through a loop I would make with my hair. Plenty of roller coasters and water activities without one issue. I highly recommend them! They are easily found on Amazon and some store retailers as well.
7. Limited Peripheral Vision
Your peripheral vision isn’t exactly there, but it is something to get used to. Your glasses won’t follow your eyes to the sides so it will be blurry. This can be a pain when there are those situations where peripheral vision may help.
8. People May Take Them For Fun
It is never funny to take glasses off of someone’s face. I remember kids doing this to other kids in school, and don’t notice it as much with adults, but it can happen. Many young children often think glasses are play things and constantly try to rip them off of your face. Next thing you know you’re left with tons of fingerprint smudges to clean off of them.
9. Pushing Them Up
There will be times you will find yourself pushing your glasses up. This could be because they are loose or simply slid. It is especially unpleasant if you are extra sweaty outdoors and they continuously slip. Having them held on a strand like Float Eyes can prevent this from happening as easily.
If your eyes are sensitive or you feel they need protection you may want to wear sunglasses. It is totally awkward to place big sunglasses over your eye glasses. Not only that, but it can add more pressure on your face. The sunglasses more often than not will not align correctly with your glasses. You are therefore left with two options. Do you get prescription sunglasses or clip on sunglasses? While prescription sunglasses are nice, they often cost a bit extra. Transitions will cost a bit more. A new pair of separate prescription sunglasses will cost you more. If Transitions lenses work for you then that is a great option. Clip on sunglasses may be a more cost effective option. If you do use the clip on sunglasses, make sure that all hooks on the sides are properly guarded with the soft material that comes on them. Also be sure they fit your glasses properly or they may cause scratches on your lenses.
Pros of Contacts
1. Your World May Be More Clear
Since the contact lens is in your eye, you will still have good peripheral vision. The lens follows your eyes, which may enhance your vision and make it easiest to see. This may be especially true if you do not need to worry about astigmatism.
2. No Need To Manually Adjust Them
There are no loose screws that need to be adjusted from time to time. You do not need to worry about glasses slipping off of your face if you play sports or spend a lot of time outdoors. The fear of losing them on a roller coaster will not be there.
3. They May Feel More Comfortable
Contacts may feel more natural than glasses do. There may be times you forget you are wearing them (this can be good and bad). Assuming you do not have issues with dry eyes, allergies to contacts, or contact induced medical issues they should feel rather comfortable after you have gotten used to them.
4. Better Options For Sunglasses
In my opinion, the options for sunglasses is nearly endless. You will be able to wear contacts and choose a pair of sunglasses that looks awesome on you! Not to mention you can see how you look with different pairs of sunglasses since you have contacts in.
5. Different Colors To Choose From
You can change your eye color to make it look a different natural color or something crazy. However, even though these contacts look awesome they can cause more issues. Some of the decorative lenses are sold illegally (and can be dangerous to use). Do make sure you are buying from a legal source with a prescription and taking proper care of these lenses.
6. The Learning Curve Isn’t Too Bad
Contact lenses may not be for everyone, and some find the learning curve difficult. I found the learning curve frustrating at first, but it became easy. After a point I could put in and take out contact lenses in a matter of seconds. It does take plenty of practice, and every day practice will more than likely help you get the hang of this.
7. Less Worry About Them Breaking
Contact lenses don’t break, but they can tear. When I wore contacts this was a rare occurrence for a contact lens to tear. You don’t need to worry about accidentally sitting on them, or them breaking from falling off of your face or a shelf/counter.
8. No Fog
You don’t need to worry about humidity changes, or accidentally forgetting to take them off to shower. Contact lenses don’t fog up from these changes, which helps keep your vision available to you.
9. People Won’t Know You Wear Them
That is, unless you tell them or wear crazy decorative lenses. No one ever needs to know you wear contacts if you don’t feel comfortable disclosing that information.
10. No Extra Weight On Your Face
Extra weight can be uncomfortable on the face. Contacts do not leave any type of indentation on your face or sides of your head.
Cons of Contacts
1. Careful with Science
Are you a student that is enrolled in chemistry? Do you take a science class that involves experiments with different elements or chemicals that can be hazardous? If so, most science classes will advise no contact lenses on lab days. Imagine how much this stinks if you don’t have a back up pair of glasses. Not only that, but safety goggles on top of that don’t like to fit comfortably.
2. Hairs and Fibers Can Get Stuck
The pain of having an eyelash in your eye feels like a seven out of ten on a pain scale. It hurts, and you end up freaking out trying to get the lens out of your eye to find the obnoxious eyelash. Even worse, sometimes it is a super light colored hair that is nearly impossible to find. At this point, keep rinsing with the saline solution and hope it comes off.
3. They Can Dry Your Eyes Out
Contact lenses don’t always allow your eyes to properly hydrate themselves. This problem can be amplified if you already suffer from dry eyes without contacts. If you look for eye drops, they may cost you more because you need to make sure they are safe for your type of contact lenses. You may find yourself applying eye drops more often than you want to. Being in an airplane, turning on the heater, and looking at an LED screen can amplify the dryness.
4. Increased Infection Risk
The infections that people can get from contact lenses aren’t fun, and will often result in the need for glasses while your eyes heal. It is important to properly wash your hands and clean your contacts to reduce your risk as much as possible. Do research on these infection risks before considering contacts. Take note of how to reduce your risk. Be aware of the dangerous contact lens mistakes.
5. Be Wary of Eye Make Up
Eye make up can irritate contact lenses. This is especially true if you apply your make up before you put your contact lenses into your eye. In turn, this may lead to eye infections.
6. Forget About Sleeping in Them
I don’t even suggest napping in your contacts. Not only does this make your eyes extremely dry, but your contact kind of glues itself to your eyeball. It will take a lot of eye drops before your contact will be hydrated enough to take out or feel comfortable. Never take out your contact lenses after you have slept in them before making sure they are hydrated and can move in your eye. If you do, you may take parts of your eye with the lens. You may not be able to see correctly or keep your eyes open because of the sensitivity. I have seen this happen to people and it isn’t pretty. For me, it never mattered if the contact lenses said they were okay to sleep in. If I slept in them, they felt stuck to my eye.
7. Water Activities Are a No Go
Because they do not fog, some people think that you are able to wear them in the water. This is not the case and is a mistake. This can increase your risk of eye infections and scratches to the eye. Take them off in the shower or before you go for a swim. This makes water activities difficult all around if you don’t have the best vision.
8. Contact Lenses Like to Free Fall
There are those awkward moments for contact lens wearers. That moment is when your contact decides to take a free fall from your eye. Sometimes it’s in the middle of class, at the gym, or at a social event. It is inconvenient, especially if you forgot your case or eye solution at home. Some resort to saliva or water, which are dangerous for you and your lenses. You will need to take a moment to wash your hands, clean the lenses off, and then place them back into your eye.
9. Shouldn’t Wear Them Longer Than Required
If you wear two week disposables then you change them every two weeks. If you do not change them, and decide another week won’t hurt – think again. I didn’t make an appointment as early as I should’ve and pushed it with my contact lenses before. My eyelids had bumps underneath and were swollen, itchy, red, and blurred my vision. These took months to heal. I was almost at the point where the optometrist said, “No contacts.” I kept using contacts. Even though I changed them, the bumps wouldn’t heal. When the bumps finally healed, I already made the switch to wearing glasses full time.
10. Good Luck Finding Your Lost Contact
If you lose your contact, it can feel nearly impossible to find. It is worse to find it with one contact still in the opposite eye. If your contacts are colored, this may be easier. Otherwise, you might never find that contact until weeks later when it makes a crunch when you accidentally step on it. Contacts are expensive so you never want to lose them. If you do lose one and can’t find it, it will be a waste of money.
Do you prefer glasses or contacts? Please share in the comments below!
[Image Credit: Scott Van Daalen on unsplash.com]