In the EBD Blog
If you need vision correction, it’s common to feel torn between using glasses or contact lenses to correct your eyesight. While both have their advantages and drawbacks, the “right” choice depends solely on your personal preference.
Below, we lay out the pros and cons of both glasses and contact lenses. We also suggest circumstances in which one corrective lens is more appropriate than the other, as well as instances where you could rely on both.
When Is It Better to Wear Glasses?
There are some scenarios in which glasses are a better option for the wearer than contacts. For example, you may prefer glasses if you have any of the following conditions:
Dry Eye Syndrome
If your eyes tend to feel dry normally, contacts probably won’t help. When you wear contacts, you tend to blink less than normal, which can make your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable. Blinking is important because it rewets your eyes and helps you maintain a healthy tear film. If you aren’t blinking as much with contacts, the symptoms of your dry eye syndrome may get worse.
Contacts attract pollen and other airborne allergens, which then stick to the surface of the lens. This buildup can worsen eye allergy symptoms and lead to complications like light sensitivity and allergic conjunctivitis (a non-contagious type of pink eye).
Blepharitis is a condition that causes you to have swollen eyelids and crusty eyelashes. You should not wear contacts if you have blepharitis because they can collect bacteria and other debris.
Continuing to wear contacts when the outer eyelid is affected (called anterior blepharitis) can increase your risk of developing conjunctivitis and other eye infections. If the inner eyelid is affected (called posterior blepharitis), you may experience dry eye symptoms, which may be further exaggerated by contact lens use.
Frequent Eye Infections
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that each year, 1 in 500 contact wearers develop serious eye infections related to their contact lens use. These infections are usually bacterial and are linked to improper lens hygiene and care. Keratitis is the infection most commonly associated with contact lenses.
Glasses may also be the better choice for:
People with a Complex Vision Prescription
In rare cases, certain prescriptions may fall outside of what soft contact lenses can correct. An example of this is if someone needs correction for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and a high level of astigmatism.
While it’s possible for contacts to meet these vision needs, it probably won’t be with regular soft lenses. Instead, hard lenses such as rigid gas permeable or scleral lenses may be used for better results.
While it’s not unheard of for a child to wear contact lenses, it isn’t usually recommended by an eye doctor. With the maintenance the lenses require and the risk of eye infection they present, children often make poor candidates.
There are special circumstances where a child (or even a toddler or baby) can be prescribed and fitted with contacts. It’s best to discuss these options with your optometrist and follow their recommendation.
People Who Can’t Maintain Proper Contact Lens Care
Contact lenses require a lot of attention to keep the eyes clean, clear, and healthy. People who find these expectations unrealistic or difficult to incorporate into their daily lives should probably avoid wearing them.## Pros and Cons of Glasses
Pros and Cons of Glasses
Glasses are usually the default for vision correction, but like most things, there are some positives and negatives that come with using them.
- Wearing glasses is as simple as sliding them onto your face.
- They’re easy to clean and store, making them a low-maintenance solution.
- There’s a very low risk of infection.
- Online and in-store retailers offer tons of different frame colors and styles.
- You don’t have to touch your eyes to put your glasses on or take them off.
- You can customize your lenses by adding various tints and coatings, including photochromic lenses.
- A single pair can last you at least a year and perhaps even longer if your prescription stays the same.
- Certain eyeglass lenses offer UV protection.
- Eyeglass lenses don’t cover your entire visual field, so they can limit or distort your peripheral vision.
- Ill-fitting glasses can press uncomfortably on the bridge of your nose or the sides of your face.
- Lenses can get dirty or scratched, or fog up in certain environments.
- Glasses are often more expensive to replace than contacts if they’re lost or broken.
- Not everyone thinks they look good with glasses (but we beg to differ).
- Certain lenses can change the appearance of the eyes by making them look bigger or smaller.
- Glasses can get in the way of certain sports or activities.
When Is It Better to Wear Contact Lenses?
Certain characteristics or habits may make contact lenses a better option for someone. For example, someone may prefer contacts over glasses if they have:
An Active Lifestyle
While it’s very possible to live an active lifestyle while wearing glasses, people who regularly participate in sports or other activities may find them, well … a little clunky. Contacts rest securely on your eyes and can give you a fuller visual field than glasses. This feature makes them great for people on the go.
A Profession Unsuitable for Glasses
Certain hands-on professions like plumbing and carpentry aren’t very compatible with glasses. There are also jobs in which you’re required to wear safety glasses, which don’t always fit well over a pair of specs. Contact lenses eliminate the slipping and smudging that one may experience while wearing glasses on the job.
Many eyeglass frames are made with hypoallergenic materials. However, if you have especially sensitive skin, it may become irritated from the frames constantly touching your face. Because contacts rest directly on the eyes, you won’t have to worry about adverse reactions to certain frame materials.
Can You Wear Contacts with Glasses?
If your glasses and contacts are meant to correct the same vision problem, wearing them at the same time isn’t recommended. However, if your contacts correct one problem and your glasses correct another problem, you may benefit from wearing both at the same time.
People who are in the beginning stages of presbyopia may wear reading glasses while they’re also wearing contacts to correct their distance vision. This helps ensure their vision is clear at near and far distances.
Alternating Between Glasses and Contacts
It’s common to go back and forth between contact lenses and glasses. In fact, doctors often recommend that contact lens wearers give their eyes a break every once in a while and switch to glasses. This is especially true if they have an eye infection or allergies.
While switching between glasses and contacts is a great way to get the best of both worlds, it’s important to note that the two prescriptions are not interchangeable. In other words, you cannot use your glasses prescription to get contacts or vice versa.
Contacts require a specific exam and measurements because they’re made to fit perfectly onto your eye. Plus, they rest directly on your eyes while eyeglass lenses sit around 12 millimeters in front of them.
If you’re interested in wearing contacts and glasses, talk to your eye doctor. They can perform the necessary exams to get you prescriptions for both.
Once you’ve got your new prescriptions and you’re ready to pick out your new frames, check out our expansive eyewear inventory. Eyebuydirect’s new prescription glasses and sunglasses will have you seeing clearly in style.
1. Glasses vs. contacts: What is the better option? Medical News Today. July 2021.
2. Blink mechanics: Why it matters. Review of Cornea & Contact Lenses. February 2020.
3. Allergies can mean misery for contact lens wearers. VSP Vision Care. Accessed August 2023.
4. Why babies and toddlers might wear contact lenses. My Kids Vision. Accessed August 2023.
5. Fast facts: Contact lenses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 2021.
6. Eye infections from contact lenses. American Academy of Ophthalmology. May 2023.
7. Contact lenses vs. eyeglasses: Which are best for you? All About Vision. January 2019.