We weigh up the pros and cons of each and find the best option for you - your eyes will thank you for it!
Catherine Rosewall, owner of Christodoulou & Rosewall Optometrists, offers a few tips that may help you decide whether to go for classic glasses or contact lenses:
Glasses: If you wear glasses (more significantly those with higher prescriptions), you see the world minified if you are short-sighted (can't see far away) and the reverse if long-sighted.
Contacts: Contact lenses increase your field of view and allow you to see more in the periphery. They also give a real image, meaning that you see the actual size of an object. A combination of the above and the added benefit of no spectacles to fall off your face, give a sportsman or active person enhanced visual performance. For those who are not able to wear contact lenses, sports eyewear is also available.
Glasses: An option for swimmers who choose to wear glasses is prescription swimming goggles, which are available in a wide range of prescriptions.
Contacts: You need to be cautious when swimming with contact lenses. The only lens recommended for water exposure is a daily disposable lens, which is thrown away after wearing. Unless wearing swimming goggles, you should never swim with a lens used more than once, as the lenses may attract a microorganism called acanthamoeba, which causes irreversible and painful vision loss.
Sitting in front of a computer
Glasses: You have the benefit of very stable vision and the option of adding an anti-reflection coating (ARC) and/or a photochromic feature. The ARC aids computer users with the glare emitted from the screen.
Contacts: When you work on a computer, your blink rate decreases, causing your eyes to dry out. This can cause more discomfort and eye redness with a contact lens wearer, especially in an air-conditioned environment, which further dehydrates the lens.
Glasses: Glasses with ARC can also assist with glare from oncoming traffic at night and generally increase contrast. The photochromic feature tints the lens like sunglasses when exposed to the UV rays of the sun, offering UV protection, and goes clear when indoors, thus offering versatility for the wearer.
Contacts: If you have multifocal glasses (more than one prescription on the lens), you will find that your vision is clearer for all distances compared to multifocal contact lens wearers. However, many people are very happy with their multifocal contact lens vision because it avoids the need to wear glasses.
Are you a contact candidate?
Not everyone can wear contact lenses. A few examples of people who can't, include:
- People who suffer from chronic dry eyes
- People with severe allergies
- People who have an existing corneal problem
"I recommend balancing contact lens and glasses, as your cornea needs oxygen to function optimally, and over-wearing contact lenses restricts the oxygen flow to the cornea," says Rosewall. "This can cause intolerance, redness and infections. Combined with super thin lenses available today for glasses as well as a huge range of fashionable frames, there is no reason why you should avoid glasses."