Is That Clear?

For humans to see, light must pass through the lens to the back of the eye. Once there, the optic nerve sends the image to the brain for processing. If the lens isn’t able to focus that light directly on the back of the eye, blurry vision can occur. The most common remedy is glasses or contacts to help the picture become clear.

Looking for answers

There is no ultimate right or wrong answer when it comes to glasses or contacts being better for the eye. Each option has pros and cons to consider before making an educated choice.

Glasses up close

Glasses typically consist of two lenses made of plastic, one for each eye. These lenses are custom-designed to match the correction a patient needs to see clearly. An estimated 4 billion people around the world wear some form of spectacles.

So simple

One of the main reasons people turn to glasses is ease of use. There’s not much simpler than picking up and putting those frames in place over the nose. People don’t have to even think about touching the eye to make glasses work. Specs are also quite easy to clean and don’t require special solutions to get the job done.

Money matters

Cost is another big win for glasses. Lenses and frames are usually cheaper than contacts in the long run due to longevity. The same pair of glasses can potentially last years, while extended-wear contacts only last about a month.

How do I look?

Furthermore, there may be more types and styles of glasses than stars in the sky. Individuals can show off personality and style with the right pair and even mix and match frames with wardrobe changes.

There’s bad news too

Glasses aren’t perfect, though. Lenses sit off the eye and, as a result, sometimes offer no help when looking off to the side. Some people find frames resting on the nose and ears to be an uncomfortable experience. Finally, broken glasses can cost considerably more than contacts to replace.

Looking at contacts

Contact lenses are thin, curved pieces of plastic that cover the surface of the eye. Correction built into each lens aids in clear vision just as glasses do. Depending on the need, contacts can be either a soft or hard material.

You can see more

Perhaps the biggest argument for contacts is the wider field of view patients receive. Each lens moves with the eye, meaning even peripheral vision receives correction. The result is a more natural experience when looking around, which isn’t possible with glasses.

Finally free

Athletes and other active individuals find a certain freedom from wearing contacts. Where glasses may get displaced, contact lenses remain adhered to the eye. This makes activities like running, dancing, and sports much more tolerable. Contacts won’t fog up when sweaty or in wet or rainy conditions, either.

Bend it back

Eye doctors can use contacts to fight back against certain corneal issues. Conditions like keratoconus that cause the cornea to bulge out can be treated with a hard contact lens.

The negatives

On the flip side, contacts are significantly harder to apply than glasses. Time and effort are required to get the lenses in place and must be properly cleaned to avoid contamination. When on the eye for prolonged periods, contacts can dry out and leave the eye irritated. For this reason, leaving contacts in the eye overnight is not a good idea.