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Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses: Which Option Is Best for You?

You've just learned you need corrective lenses. But will you choose eyeglasses or contacts? There's no right or wrong choice between the two, but one may be a better fit for your own lifestyle and habits than the other. Both will improve your vision, and both are safe to wear daily. One is highly visible. The other is not. It may be easier to choose your type of corrective lens if you know more about the benefits and challenges of each. Your vision specialist can help you decide.

All About Eyeglasses

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Eyeglasses have glass or hard-plastic lenses that are mounted in a frame and positioned to be worn on your face to correct your vision. They're held in place by temple pieces that fit over the tops of your ears. Glasses can be sized to fit you specifically, so they're comfortable to wear without sliding down your nose.

What They Do

Eyeglasses do much more than just make it easier to see close up and far away. They can provide protection for your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and cut glare through the application of tints and polarization, too. Maybe most importantly, however, they make a great fashion statement. You can match the shape, color, and size of your eyeglass frames to reflect your personality.

Pros

Eyeglasses have some advantages over contact lenses, including price. They're typically cheaper over a lifetime because they don't need to be replaced as often. They also slip on and off easily, without requiring you to touch your eyes repeatedly, which can lead to a greater risk of eye infection.

Many people choose eyeglasses because they like the way they look. You can model your new eyeglasses after the look of your favorite celebrity. Or you can use them to announce your own individuality. The lenses are easy to clean and maintain, and the glasses, as a whole, require little care. Simply storing them in a safe place is enough to keep them looking like new.

Cons

Eyeglasses, like contacts, have their own challenges, however. They can feel bulky at first. And if your eyes are your best feature, you may not feel like hiding them behind glasses. They tend to fog up if you move between a cool, air-conditioned room and the outdoor heat or when you sweat. They also collect drops of moisture in the rain and snow and need to be cleaned.  

Eyeglasses are easily bent or broken, and the lenses can be scratched. They may get in the way of sunglasses, too. Although you can have polarizing tints applied to your prescription glasses that make them look and function like sunglasses when outdoors.

About Contact Lenses

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A contact lens is an ocular prosthetic device that's placed directly on the surface of the eye to correct vision deficiencies. While this may sound threatening, it isn't really. The first time you use a contact, it may feel like you have a foreign object in your eye. This feeling goes away quickly, however, as your body acclimates to its presence. Once you've used contacts regularly, you won't even notice you're wearing them.

Pros

Contact lenses give you better peripheral vision. Additionally, nobody has to know you're wearing them. You'll be able to see much better without announcing your vision problems to the world.

Contacts are easy to put in, though it may take you a few tries to get the hang of the application. And once they're in, you can basically forget about them until it's time to take them out, usually before you go to sleep. You don't have to worry about where you put them down or whether the cat knocked them off the nightstand in the night. Even if the storage case falls or tips over, your contacts will be perfectly fine, floating in their solution.

Cons

Contact lens prescriptions must be renewed regularly, which makes them more expensive than eyeglasses. They also require a bit more care than eyeglasses. You'll have to purchase a cleaning solution regularly, and you'll need a case for storage. You'll also want to ensure your hands are freshly washed before you take them in or out to reduce the risk of eye infection.

It's also not a good idea to fall asleep in your contact lenses because this can also increase your risk of eye infection. This is true even for contacts that are sleep-friendly.

There may be instances when contact lenses are not a good option for you. For instance, if you have dry eye syndrome or severe eye allergies. Small children are also not good candidates because they're too young to apply them safely. Your eye care provider will sit down with you to discuss alternative options for treatment in these situations. However, most people can wear both eyeglasses and contact lenses to improve their vision.

If you have vision issues that require corrective lenses, consider the benefits and disadvantages of both eyeglasses and contact lenses before choosing the one that's right for you. By fitting your new lenses to your lifestyle and habits, you'll be much happier with the results.

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