Contacts vs Glasses: Which is right for you?
When meeting someone for the first time, you typically stare into their eyes. They say the eyes are the window to someone’s soul. Therefore, it’s important that your eyes are surrounded beautifully and handled with care! The biggest question to ask yourself, which would you prefer: contacts or glasses? When choosing contacts or glasses, keep in mind both comfort and fashion.
71% of Americans in the United States wear glasses. The average cost of glasses a year is $196, and $2,000 every 20 years depending on the cost of frames/lens. Frames are typically chosen on what looks best to the patient. Frames are made to look fashionable and to feel comfortable. Do not risk the comfort for more fashionable frames or you could greatly regret it. On average, 70% of your day will consist of wearing glasses, depending on your prescription and daily activities. A factor that patients forget to take into consideration is the different types of lenses that are offered in the market.
Glasses lens are based on appearance, comfort, vision, and safety. Not only are there different types of lenses, but there are also different assortments of coatings that go with those special lenses. There are lenses and coatings that cater towards your specific needs.
Here is a list of common lenses that are offered on the market today:
- High-index plastics: These types of lenses are the thinnest available and block 100% UV rays. Significant factors that make them unique is that they are lightweight and are less costly.
- Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate lenses obtain superior impact resistance and block 100% UV rays. These lenses are significantly lighter than high-index plastic lenses.
- Trivex: These lenses have superior impact resistance, 100% UV ray resistant, and are the lightest lens material on the market.
- CR-39 Plastic: These lens are significantly thicker than the average lenses. They have excellent optics, and are offered at low cost.
- Crown Glass: Crown glass lenses are often breakable, and significantly heavier than the other lenses. They are offered at a much lower price, and have excellent optics.
Just as there are many lenses to choose from, there are also a wide variety of coatings for your lenses out on the market today. Here is a general list of basic coatings being offered to patients today:
- Anti –scratch coating: light weight lenses have a softer surface than glass lenses. These lenses are more prone to scratches and abrasions and will need protection. Although, most lenses are impact resistant; for optimal results it’s recommended to get an anti-scratch coating to ensure your lenses are in perfect shape. This coating is recommended for those who have an active lifestyle, or are more prone to accidents.
- Anti-reflective coating: An anti-reflective coating ensures a reduction of contrast and clarity, specifically during the night. This coating eliminates reflections in the lenses, and makes them nearly invisible. If you are highly photogenic, this coating is highly recommended due to the fact that they are less likely to have glare spots in photographs.
- UV-blocking treatment: There are long term damages that are caused by UV ray exposure. It has been expressed that UV rays are the key component to age-related eye diseases. To ensure your safety and health, a UV blocking treatment should be added to your lenses. Most polycarbonate and high-index plastic lenses have 100% UV protection built within the lenses due to absorptive characteristics of the lens material. However, CR-39 lenses do not and should have a UV-blocking treatment added onto the lens for your safety.
- Photochromic treatment: This lens treatment darkens automatically as a response to UV rays and high-energy visible light rays. The lens quickly turns clear when indoors. This treatment is available for all lens materials and designs.
22% of Americans in the United States wear contact lenses. On average, a patient will spend $240 a year on contacts and $4,500 within 20 years. There are many advantages to wearing contacts. Contacts move with your eye, reduce distortion, and don’t fog up. Contacts do not obstruct your view or activities as it resides within your very own eyes. There are many contacts available that cater to your specific needs. It’s highly important that you choose contacts that fit your lifestyle and specific needs. Contacts are made to make your eyes feel comfortable and correct your vision.
- The first type of contacts are the rigid gas-permeable contacts. These lenses are made of flexible plastic that allows oxygen to pass through to the eyes. These contacts provide excellent vision, comfortable to wear, correct most vision problems, and are easy to put on and care for. A significant feature about these types of lenses are that they are available for bifocals. RGP lenses requires the patient consistently wear them in order to maintain adaptation. These lenses typically slip off the center of the eye more easily than other lens and debris can easily get under the lens.
- Another type of lens offered on the market is daily-wear soft lenses. The lenses are made of soft, flexible plastic, just like the RGP lenses. They require a very short adaptation period and are much more comfortable. Unlike RGP lenses, daily-wear soft lenses are more difficult to dislodge. These lenses are recommended for anyone with active lifestyles. The down-side to these lenses are the fact that they do not correct all vision problems. These lenses provide less crisp vision than RBP lenses and these lenses often get dirty very easily.
- Extended-wear lenses are available for overnight wear in soft or RBP lenses. These lenses are typically worn for up to seven days without removal. These lenses do not correct all vision problems, and require regular office visits for follow-up care.
- Extended-wear disposable lenses are soft lens that are worn for one to six days and then discarded. These lenses require little to no cleaning and minimal risk of eye infection if wearing instructions are followed properly. These contacts are not as sharp as RBP lenses and may be more difficult to handle.
- Planned replacement lenses are soft daily wearers that are replaced on planned schedules. These lenses typically last anywhere between two weeks to a month or even quarterly. The lenses themselves require simple disinfectant cleaning. They are great for eye health and are available for most prescriptions.
Are contacts safe?
The biggest question asked when first obtaining contacts is: are contacts safe? The answer is vague but yes and no. Contacts are designed to fit within the eye safely and are safe, if you follow the directions handed to you. To ensure that your contacts experience is safe be sure to follow your doctors recommendations. There are risks of eye infections when directions are not followed. It is important to understand exactly how long the contacts can remain in your eye, how often to change them, how often to clean them, and how to properly put in and take out the lenses. So, yes contacts are safe when dealt with properly and handled with care.
Contacts or glasses?
To determine which is better for your lifestyle there are a couple things to consider. Often, most patients enjoy using both; enjoying the fashion of glasses and freedom of contacts. Glasses are both comfortable and fashionable. There are a variety of designs that are offered for frames and each contour the face differently. Contacts free the face of obstructions and are less likely to hinder activities that you may be participating in. This is a personal decision that must be made by the patient to determine if contacts or glasses fit their lifestyle perfectly. It’s recommended that you try contacts before purchasing them to ensure optimal comfort for your daily routines and your eyes.