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While wearing contact lenses provides many benefits over wearing glasses, it is important to understand that while one might provide some benefits over the other they aren’t necessarily better than each other.
Benefit of Contact Lenses Over Glasses
If you live an active lifestyle you might want to wear contacts because it would just be easier than having to worry about your glasses falling off your face. You might just want better peripheral vision, something that glasses can not offer. Maybe you just want to wear the latest fashionable sunglasses without a prescription.
It is clear that contact lenses hold many benefits over glasses. However, there are some drawbacks to contact lenses as well. Let’s dive in and give contact lenses a hard look and see if it truly is more beneficial than glasses.
Contact Lens Technology
The technology of contact lenses has come a long way since they were first introduced. The first contact lens was a glass blown contact lens that was 18 to 22mm in diameter. That is a contact lens that is nearly the size of a quarter, made out of glass IN your eyes. After many years of various different materials from plastics to glass, we now have the silicone hydrogel lenses that we have today.
The technology of contact lenses will always continue to change and improve as the years go by. Today some contact lenses have materials that are tear infused and are designed to complement the natural tear film by using molecules that are tear like and they mimic human tears.
Some researchers in the Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore are developing a color changing contact lens that will be very similar to how current eyeglass photochromic lenses are. The University of Chicago is doing something similar as well using an alternate method.
There are definitely some new and exciting new contact lens technology soon to come, but your here today because you are wondering how it could benefit you today, not in the future so let’s dive right into that and see what benefits contact lenses hold over glasses and what are some drawbacks you have to deal with when using contact lenses.
Benefits of Wearing Contact Lenses
One of the most annoying things that happened to me while I was growing up as an eyeglass wearer was the fact that every time I started exerting a slight bit more energy than usual, my eyeglasses would fog up. This is one of the many downsides of glasses, but this is where contact lenses come in. Let’s take a look at some benefits:
- No Reflections – Wearing eyeglasses means you constantly have reflections in front of your eyes. Even if you have the anti-reflective coating reflections could still be annoying and cause distortions.
- Better Peripheral Vision – You have much better peripheral vision wearing contact lenses compared to glasses. This is good for anyone that is playing a sport that wants their entire field of vision in focus.
- No Fogging Up – Glasses tend to fog up if you start moving around too much and get your body temperature elevated. I have tried multiple different anti-fog sprays and paste and they only reduce it a bit but it still fogs up.
- You Can Wear Non-Prescription Sunglasses – This one is a big one for me, with the way my prescription was, if I were to get bigger frames my lenses would be really thick, which causes more distortion on the edges. Therefore I always had to go with smaller frames even when I wanted prescription sunglasses. Wearing contacts eliminates that problem and you can wear non-prescription sunglasses if you wanted to.
- Rain and Snow Won’t Get On Them – With eyeglasses, if the weather is bad outside then there is going to be water or snow stuck to your glasses. With contact lenses, you won’t have that problem.
- Don’t Interfere With Headgear – One of the biggest problems I had over the years is fitting my glasses on underneath helmets. Whether it was a dirtbike helmet or a baseball helmet always a pain. Contact lenses solve this problem as well.
- No Frames Blocking – There are no frames to block your face, you can show off those beautiful eyes or that stunning makeup.
- Don’t Have to Push Up Your Glasses – This is the single most annoying thing about wearing glasses is having to push them up every few minutes. The funny thing about this is that whenever I wear contacts and I feel like my contacts are losing focus I always instinctively reach up to push my glasses up even though I am not wearing anything.
- Outfit Matching – You don’t have to worry about matching your outfit with your glasses. Even though it is 2018 and people wear any color they want mismatched colors and all.
- More Comfortable – Nothing on your face pinching your nose equals more comfort.
Drawbacks of Contact Lenses
Well, since nothing is ever easy and perfect there is definitely some drawback to using contact lenses. Many of the drawbacks can definitely be easily taken care of, but we are human and sometimes we forget. So let’s take a look at some drawbacks you may face as a contact lens wearer.
- Not all Prescriptions are Available – Although in this day an age MOST prescriptions are available in contact lenses, occasionally there will be a few with prescriptions that just aren’t available.
- More Maintenence – Contact lenses require more care. You have to make sure you are cleaning your contact lenses properly and storing them with the correct solutions. Also making sure your contact lens case is changed out frequently. Opticians generally recommend them being changed every 30 days but at the very least every 90 days.
- More Risk of Infections – This goes hand in hand with the extra care. If you care for your contact lenses correctly than there is a less of a chance of an infection. Also if you are wearing a contact lens that is not made to be slept in, and you fall asleep in them this could increase your risk of an eye infection. Sleeping in your contact lenses that aren’t designed to be slept in reduces the amount of oxygen to your eye, and with the extra stress, your eye becomes more vulnerable to infections.
- Dry Eyes – Contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that your eyes are getting, which in turn could create or enhance a dry eye problem.
- Not Suitable for Long Computer Use – If you work for extended times in front of a computer wearing contact lenses is not advised. People that work for extended periods of time in front of a computer already experience digital eye strain, and wearing contacts could potentially make that worse.
- More Costly – Contact lenses may seem like they are the more inexpensive option in the short term if you are only purchasing one box at a time. In the long run, unless you are overwearing your contact lenses like you are not supposed to, contact lenses will end up costing you more money. Between the added cost of the contact lens exam, to the contact lenses themselves, and the solutions to properly care for your contact lenses the cost will be substantially more than purchasing a pair of glasses.
- You Can’t Swim With Them – Water and contact lenses are a big no-no. There are plenty of people out there that defy this warning, but swimming in your contact lenses could lead to very serious eye infections. It is definitely not recommended. If you love the water then I suggest investing in a pair of prescription swimming goggles.
There are solutions to some of these drawbacks though so it is not the end of the world if your scared of some of the things on this list.
If you are bad a maintaining your contact lenses then there are many daily disposable contact lenses out there. I had actually tried daily disposables at one period of time and they were the most comfortable contacts I had ever worn. The best thing about it to was that I didn’t have to worry about having a case or solution. I just carried back up contacts with me wherever I went and once I was done I just threw them away. This is a good option if you don’t want to have to care for your contact lenses.
If you have a problem with sleeping in your contact lenses there are options for extended wear lenses that are designed to and you are able to sleep with them on. Ciba Vision makes a brand called Air Optix Night & Day, these are very popular with people that like to sleep in their contacts.
The risk of infections is completely controlled by you, the better you take care of your contact lenses the better. I had an eye infection once when I wore my contact lenses for too long. Let’s just say it wasn’t a fun experience, and I couldn’t wear contact lenses for a month.
As far as the cost goes, many contact lens retailers offer huge discounts if you buy in bulk. This is a great option to keep your cost down if you are able to afford it.
Why You Should Have Both
As an optician, I recommend that if you are planning on wearing contact lenses that you always have a backup pair of glasses. If you are going to be wearing your contact lenses all day long, when you get home it would be wise to give your eyes a break and take your contact lenses off and throw on your glasses.
You should always have an updated pair of glasses just in case you run out of contacts or get some or of irritation in your eyes and you are no longer able to wear contact lenses. It would be silly to be stuck in a situation where you couldn’t wear contacts and didn’t have a backup pair of glasses.
Have you worn contact lenses before? What are your thoughts on them? let me know below. As always thank you for reading, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns don’t be afraid to leave them below and I will get back to you.
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