According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 45 million people in the U.S. wear contact lenses. While contact lenses are popular and commonplace, there are some consumers who are better suited for them and some who are not.

The decision to wear contacts or to wear glasses is a personal one. Use the guidelines below to determine the best option for you.

Why Contacts?

Today’s contacts are available in two main varieties: rigid or hard contact lenses and soft contact lenses. These varieties are able to address most vision-related problems. Contact users can wear them to correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

Here are some of the advantages of choosing contacts.

  • A better choice for sports and physical activity. “Well-fitting contact lenses stay in place on the eyes and improve peripheral (side) vision during sports and activities,” the CDC continues. Another perk of contacts is that they will not fog up, whether you are playing sports, taking part in a local fitness class, or simply going about your day.
  • A more natural experience. Contact lenses mimic the natural experience as they move with your eye, do not fog up, do not get wet, and you do not see frames when wearing them.
  • No uncomfortable pinching. Ill-fitting glasses can pinch in several different places. The most popular places for eyeglasses to pinch are on the sides of your face, near your temples or ears, or on your nose. Pinching near your temples can cause headaches. Glasses that dig into the sides of your nose can lead to headaches as well and leave the skin underneath red and irritated.
  • Aesthetic preferences. Aesthetic preferences are entirely up to the wearer. Some people prefer the way they look in glasses. Others prefer to wear contact lenses for a more natural look. Children and teens, in particular, may feel more comfortable wearing lenses instead of making a fashion statement.

Of course, there are some downsides to wearing contacts. Contacts require proper care. It is important for patients to wear them only as long as specified by their prescriptions. There are daily disposables, weekly, and extended wear contacts. If applicable, take contacts out and place them in a clean carrying case with sterile eye contact solution every night. Wearing contacts overnight can lead to irritation and infection.

Why Glasses?

If you are not entirely comfortable wearing contacts for any reason, the best eye doctors will remind you that you have options! Glasses are available in a wide variety of styles and have some advantages over soft and rigid contact lenses.

First, glasses do not carry the same risks of infection. You do not touch your eyes to put on or remove glasses. Keeping your fingers out of your eyes lowers your infection risk. Similarly, glasses are much easier to take on and off at your leisure. If you spend a night away without an extra pair of disposable daily contacts or without contact solution (and a contact carrying case for extended wear lenses), chances are you may end up wearing your lenses longer than you should. This can lead to irritation and discomfort and even dangerous complications like keratitis, an eye injury or infection that causes redness, pain, and compromised vision.

Glasses are the optimal choice for those who suffer from seasonal allergies and experience runny eyes, itchy eyes, or swollen eyes.

Plus, some people just like the way glasses look. When it comes to frames for eyeglasses, there are unlimited options out there. You can choose thick frames, thin frames, or glasses without frames around your eyes. Frames come in different colors and designs, and patients can purchase glasses with lenses that convert to sunglasses and also provide protection from UVA and UBA rays.

Are glasses or contacts best for you? Talk to one of our eye doctors to find out what option suits you!