Are Contacts Better Than Glasses?
If you need corrective lenses to see clearly, you may wonder whether contacts or glasses are better for you. Most people can wear either glasses or contacts. Some use both and switch between the two based on the situation.
How do you know which of the two is best for you? There’s no correct answer for whether contacts are better than glasses or vice versa. It all depends on your comfort, lifestyle, and preference.
This article covers the differences between contacts and glasses, including the pros and cons of each. It’s important to discuss these options with your eye doctor so they can recommend the best type of vision correction for you.
What’s the Difference Between Contacts and Glasses?
Both glasses and contact lenses correct vision problems (refractive errors). These include:
Eye doctors recommend prescription glasses or contacts after an examination in which they diagnose vision problems.
However, contact prescriptions and glasses prescriptions are different. You cannot use a glasses prescription to order contacts and vice versa.
While glasses lenses sit in front of your eyes with the support of a frame, contacts make direct contact with your eyeball.
Pros and Cons of Glasses
Eyeglasses with corrective lenses have been used for centuries to improve vision. They offer many benefits, but they aren’t perfect.
Pros of Glasses
- No long-term expense of cleaning and maintenance
- One pair can last a long time without the need for a replacement
- They’re easy to use and don’t involve touching your eyes
- Low risk of infection
- Moderate eye protection, including UV protection
- Opportunity to make a fashion statement because they come in different colors and styles
- Provide blue light and glare protection when looking at screens
- You can customize the lenses to meet your needs
Cons of Glasses
- Discomfort from sweating and movement on the face
- Lenses can become fogged, scratched, or smudged
- They don’t provide clear peripheral vision
- It’s easy for someone to knock your glasses off of your face and impede your vision
- Don’t provide peripheral vision benefits
- Many styles of glasses are easily breakable, but manufacturers do offer “unbreakable” styles
- It’s more expensive to replace a damaged or lost pair of glasses than contacts
Pros and Cons of Contact Lenses
Contact lenses eliminate many disadvantages of wearing glasses. They sit directly on your eyeballs, so you don’t need to worry about them falling off or affecting your appearance.
Pros of Contacts
- More of a natural field of vision without interference from fogging or blurry peripherals
- Don’t change your appearance (unless you choose tinted lenses that change your eye color)
- Provide greater freedom of movement during exercise and physical activities
- Allow you to wear different non-prescription sunglasses
- Aren’t as costly as glasses to replace
Cons of Contacts
- Higher risk of infection than with glasses
- Can be uncomfortable or impossible to wear if you have dry eyes or other eye conditions
- Require more upkeep, cleaning, and maintenance than glasses
- Can worsen symptoms of digital eye strain
When Glasses are the Better Choice
Wearing contact lenses poses a greater risk of infection. About one in 500 contact lens wearers develop an eye infection each year.2 This is because most contact lens wearers don’t follow proper maintenance and care instructions for their contacts.
Nearly everyone has done or not done something that puts them at risk of developing an eye health problem or infection from their contacts.
Glasses not only pose less of a risk, but they also provide extra protection for your eyes. They’re also easier to care for and can cost less than contacts in some cases.
Glasses might be better for you if:
- You’re concerned about eye infections
- You have limited time to invest in proper maintenance, cleaning, and care of contacts
- You’re a young child
- You’re uncomfortable touching your eyes
- You have dry eye syndrome or other health issues that prevent you from wearing contacts
When Contacts are the Better Choice
Contact lenses are a better choice for more active people. This doesn’t mean you can’t be active if you wear glasses. Contacts make it easier to engage in activities without worrying about breaking your glasses.
Contacts don’t interfere with your field of vision as glasses do when they block part of your peripheral vision.
Many people choose contacts for aesthetic reasons. They may prefer how they look without glasses, or they’ve never worn glasses, and the sudden change in appearance bothers them.
Contact lenses can be more convenient. They require more care and cleaning, but you don’t need to worry much about them throughout the day. They don’t make your face sweat, they don’t fog up, and they don’t slip down your nose.
Daily contact lenses are a convenient way to minimize care and cleaning and provide all the convenience of contacts.
Cost of Contacts vs. Glasses
Most of the time, glasses are cheaper than contact lenses. This considers the longevity of glasses and the care and cleaning of contact lenses.
Contact lenses need replacement, whereas a pair of glasses can last a lifetime if you’re careful and your prescription doesn’t change. Contact lenses are more expensive the more you replace them.
However, prescription eyeglasses that treat complex vision issues can cost more than contact lenses. In general, glasses and contacts range in price from around $100 to several hundred dollars.
What to Consider When Choosing Between Contacts and Glasses
How do you know whether you should choose contact lenses or glasses for better vision? Is it worth the investment having both?
In the end, it’s a personal choice. However, there are several things to consider when determining if glasses, contacts, or both are the best option for you.
When deciding whether you want to wear glasses or contacts, consider issues related to:
- Vision issues
- Cost (initial and long-term)
- Sense of style
Some people opt for glasses when first diagnosed with a refractive error. This is especially common for children. Getting used to vision correction devices takes time.
After getting used to vision correction, many people choose to transition to contact lenses. At this point, the only adjustment is getting used to wearing contacts and getting them in and out of their eyes.
Why Do Contact Lens Wearers Need Glasses?
If you wear contact lenses, you should have a pair of glasses with an up-to-date prescription. If something happens with one or more of your contacts or your eyes get infected, you’ll need a backup option.
You should also have a pair of prescription sunglasses to protect your eyes when outside.
When Should You Wear Contacts and Glasses?
Some people also find that part-time contact lens wearing is the best for them. They might wear contacts when exercising or doing other physical activities but prefer glasses in other cases.
Additionally, glasses are better for people who spend a lot of time looking at computer screens.
If you are still unsure whether you want contacts, glasses, or both, speak to your optometrist or vision care specialist. They’ll discuss the pros and cons of each option in relation to your specific needs.
- Glasses and contacts are two different options for vision correction, each with its own pros and cons.
- Contacts aren’t necessarily better than glasses, but they can be more comfortable and convenient for people with active lifestyles.
- Glasses are easier to use and have a lower risk of infection.
- People who spend a lot of time looking at a computer may benefit from wearing glasses because contact lenses can worsen digital eye strain.
- Contacts don’t alter your appearance, but glasses come in various styles and colors that can make a fashion statement.
- Ultimately, whether contacts or glasses are better depends on personal preferences.
In this article
Best Places to Buy Glasses
Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.
Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.
Best on a Budget
EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.
Best Places to Buy Contacts
1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.
GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.