When you need vision correction to see clearly, you’re faced with a tough question: Should you wear glasses or contact lenses?
Some people have a strong allegiance to one kind of eyewear. Others might not know about all the benefits each type can offer. However, there’s no correct choice here—opting for glasses or contacts should be a decision based on personal preference and lifestyle.
And, well, some expert advice doesn’t hurt. Here, we’ll outline the pros and cons of glasses vs. contact lenses, as well as the advantages of switching between both. Whether you’re a first-timer who just got an updated eye prescription, a contact-lens devotee, or a glasses-wearer laying awake wondering, “Should I get contacts instead?”, we’ll prepare you to pick your eyewear with confidence.
The Pros and Cons of Eyeglasses
Glasses form the foundation of the eyewear world, with a long history of protecting our eyes and enhancing our vision. They’re not for everybody, but they’re worn by more than 150 million adults in America today.
They’re easy to wear. Glasses are straightforward. Slide them onto your face, and voila! Your eyesight is corrected, and you’re good to go.
They clean up and store easily. Learning how to clean your glasses is a quick process that only requires a lens cleaner or lens-friendly soap and a microfiber cloth. Storage is also a breeze: just place your glasses in a protective case when you aren’t wearing them.
They don’t need to be replaced frequently. With proper care, glasses are designed to withstand the test of time. This makes them a cost-effective investment. Of course, it’s always important to update your prescription regularly to ensure clear and comfortable vision. Fortunately, our glasses are both affordable and stylish.
The frame options are endless. Glasses can serve as a companion piece to an outfit or a fashion statement all on their own. With so many different frame styles and colors to choose from, it’s no wonder that some people acquire a whole collection of glasses.
You don’t need to touch your eyes to use them. Putting your glasses on does not require any direct contact with your eyeballs.
The lenses are highly customizable. When you select lenses for your glasses, you have an abundance of options, from progressives and readers to tinted or mirror-coated sunglass lenses. There are also glasses with photochromic or light-responsive lenses, which darken automatically when exposed to ultraviolet rays. That means you essentially have a pair of sunglasses and prescription glasses in one frame, with the ability to shapeshift from one mode to another. (Contact lenses are catching up on this front, though: ACUVUE® OASYS with Transitions are contacts that can similarly transform.)
They offer some protection from the elements. Glasses can block out some of the dust, wind, and debris that might otherwise get in your eyes. Sure, prescription lenses aren’t safety goggles, but they’re still a helpful barrier between the world and your delicate corneas.
They don’t cover your entire field of vision. Even though glasses lenses sit in front of your eyes, they don’t entirely encompass your periphery. Sometimes, you can lose the benefit of enhanced vision when you’re peering off to the side, outside the range of your frames.
They’re more expensive than contacts to replace if damaged or lost. Having a single pair of glasses means that you’ll have to buy new ones if those frames get lost or irreparably broken. That said, we sell our frames at affordable, budget-friendly prices.
Some people find them uncomfortable. Glasses have to rest on the bridge of your nose and the tops of your ears. For most people, that’s not a problem. But for some, the pressure feels bothersome or irritating. If that’s the case for you, take your frames to an optician for an adjustment —it will likely be a quick fix! Frames need regular maintenance and may require adjustments periodically to maintain their best fit.
Some people don’t love how they look in them. Glasses can be an acquired taste! Some people prefer not to wear them for aesthetic reasons. Although, we think anyone can pull them off 😉
Their lenses might affect the appearance of your eyes. If you have an especially strong prescription, the lenses of your glasses can have a magnifying or minimizing effect on the view of your eyes from the outside. However, high index lenses might help mitigate this effect.
They can fog up, smudge, and get scratched. Glasses aren’t immune from wear and tear. They can fog up when hit with a temperature differential (especially if you’re wearing a mask), and smudge or get streaky if they aren’t cleaned often. They’re also at risk of sustaining scratches, especially if they don’t come with a scratch-resistant coating. Thankfully, all of ours do!
The Pros and Cons of Contact Lenses
Compared to glasses, contact lenses are a relatively recent invention. They’re technologically advanced, comfortable, and not as noticeable as glasses frames, all while providing powerful vision correction.
Some days call for contacts
Shop lenses from top brands, including ACUVUE® and our very own daily lens, Scout.
They produce a more “natural” field of vision. Because they sit on the surface of your eyes and move with them, contact lenses provide seamless vision correction. Their benefits extend to your peripheral vision and they won’t have the same types of visual disruptions that glasses do, such as reflections or fogginess.
They give you freedom of movement during activities and sports. When glasses might fly off your face, contact lenses stay put. You can play sports, go running, or dance freely at a concert.
They don’t stand out on your face. Contacts won’t clash with an otherwise perfectly matching ensemble, and they won’t block other people’s view of your expertly applied eye makeup and lashes. For most contact wearers, contacts are functionally invisible.
Some contacts enable you to change your eye color. If you’ve ever wanted to see what you look like with a differently colored iris, contacts can make that happen. Certain colored contacts come in both bold and subtle hues, so you can sport anything from dramatic violet lenses to ones that lightly accent your eyes.
They allow you to wear a variety of non-prescription sunglasses. Throwing on a pair of sunglasses is easy when you’re already wearing contact lenses, and you won’t have to pay for prescription sunglasses.
Losing or replacing your contacts isn’t as costly. Unlike glasses, contacts usually aren’t designed to last for years. Losing a pair of disposable lenses won’t set your wallet back as much (although you should still try your best to keep track of them!).
Contact Lens Cons
They require discipline in their care, replacement, cleaning, and storage. Contact lenses should be stored in solution inside a case at night and cleaned before and after you wear them. Daily disposable contacts are an exception to this rule, however: They should be discarded at the end of each day, and start the next day with a fresh pair. For this reason, daily disposables are seen as a highly convenient option for people who don’t want to worry as much about contact lens maintenance. (Our own daily contact brand, Scout, is especially easy to transport in its signature flat pack!)
Putting in, taking out, and wearing contacts can take some getting used to. Learning how to put in contacts (and how to take them out) is intimidating at first, because, well, it involves touching your eyeball. But don’t worry—you’ll get used to it as you practice. Your eye doctor will also be able to recommend contacts that are beginner-friendly, such as ACUVUE® OASYS 1-Day lenses. After a trial period with these lenses, 95% of new wearers said that they’d continue using them!
Using contact lenses improperly can lead to eye health issues. The manufacturer instructions for contact lens maintenance should always be respected. When the rules aren’t followed, your eyes can be at risk for problems from dryness to infection.
They can exacerbate the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Wearing certain contacts while working at the computer might boost your chances of experiencing screen-related eye strain. However, some contact brands have taken computers into consideration. ACUVUE® OASYS 1-Day contact lenses, for example, keep eyes consistently hydrated by working together with your eyes’ natural tear film.
Contact Lenses, Glasses…or Both?
Alternating between glasses and contacts truly gives you the best of both worlds. Each kind of eyewear compensates for the drawbacks of the other, and gives you the flexibility to do whatever you’d like during the day with the clearest vision possible.
When Should You Wear Contacts, and When Should You Wear Glasses?
There are several ways to be a “dual wearer” and practice switching from glasses to contacts (and back again). Our one rule of thumb is that you should always have a pair of glasses on hand to serve as a backup to your contacts.
You might be someone who only wears contacts when glasses would be impractical: at the amusement park, during gym class, while playing sports, or snorkeling, to name just a few examples.
Perhaps you wear contacts on days when you feel like showing off your eye makeup, or when you want to travel especially light, without worrying about glasses or their case. Studies have shown that wearing contacts can also make people feel freer and more confident—so, you might put in your ACUVUE® OASYS 1-Day lenses for a mood boost.
Or, maybe you just like having the choice available to you. Many people opt for contacts during the day and then return to their glasses during the morning and night. Others just do what they feel, and switch between glasses and contacts spontaneously.
The point is, there’s really no right choice between the two—and in fact, choosing both nets you the best eyesight and comfort.
Contact Lenses vs. Glasses FAQs
Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of contacts and glasses, you may still have lingering questions about how they stack up against each other. We’ll do our best to address them here.
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