Eyeglasses vs. Contact Lenses – Which One is For You?


When choosing between contact lenses or eyeglasses there are several things you will want to consider. Lifestyle, time and aesthetics will all play a role in helping you determine which option is best for you. While glasses and contacts are both easy to maintain, affordable and correct astigmatism, below are some questions you may want to ask yourself when making your decision.

What kind of lifestyle do I have?

There’s no doubt that contact lenses are suitable for most people seeking vision correction. They’re often the perfect solution for anyone who spends the bulk of their time at home and in an office, classroom or store. But if your work or recreational activities result in regular encounters with eye irritants such as saltwater, sand, dust or debris, you may want to opt for eyeglasses.

Which is Most Comfortable for Me?

Some people feel that eyeglasses are bulky. Glasses can also become irritating on the bridge of the nose and behind the ears. This feeling of discomfort is more exaggerated if the wearer begins to sweat. If you might feel that glasses won’t provide you with optimal comfort, you may want to look at getting contact lenses.

Contacts also have some comfort issues. Allergy sufferers may discover that contact lenses feel “scratchy.” Contact lenses can also make the eyes feel dry and look red, which may in turn require the frequent use of eye drops. Ask your eye care professional for a sample pair of contacts to take home and test. If you find that contacts are irritating, you may want to go with glasses.

How Much Variety Do I Want?

Unless you have enough money to select several pairs of eyeglass frames, there’s little you can do to modify your look. Contact lenses, however, come in a variety of colors and tints. You can select contact lenses that are clear or simply enhance your natural eye color, or go with bolder shades like violet, emerald green and deep blue. Most vision centers will allow you to sample several shades to see which look is right for you.

How Comfortable Will I Be with Inserting My Contacts?

Let’s face it: some people are downright squeamish about inserting or removing contact lenses from their eyes. Contact lens insertion and removal does take practice, but it’s not for everyone. If you are thinking about getting contact lenses, have your eye care professional show you how to put them in and take them out and then decide if you will be able to accomplish this task on your own at home.

How Complicated Will Maintenance Be?

When it comes to eyeglasses, a dab of eyeglass cleaner and a lint-free wipe are usually all you’ll need to keep eyeglass lenses crystal clear. Contact lenses, however, require careful handling, daily cleaning, special cases, and sterile solutions. Since different types of contact lenses need different methods of cleaning and storage, it’s best to speak with your eye care professional about what cleaning procedures might be involved if you select contact lenses.

You Can Have the Best of Both Worlds

Most people don’t realize that they can have the best of both worlds by selecting contact lenses AND eyeglasses. Although you will need to have an eye exam specifically for glasses and another for contacts, you may want to wear glasses at school or in a more professional setting and then slip into your contact lenses for casual wear and social events. There are plenty of options available to you, so speak with your eye care provider about how to make the best possible eyewear decision.

Stephen Braxton is an eyewear consultant, specializing in contact lenses, and he is especially excited about all the new research for contact lenses for astigmatism such as toric lenses. Photo credit: contact lens by Alexandre Normand/flickr.