If you use contact lenses or glasses, you’re not alone. Six in ten people in the UK use some kind of eyewear to help correct their vision – but should modern, advanced contact lenses be your firm favourite or does the convenience of spectacles win the day? Our buyer’s guide helps you weigh up whether spectacles or contact lenses make the best choice for your daily life.
5 things to think about
1. Quality of vision
It’s personal preference whether glasses or contact lenses provide the best vision, but so many people love the reliability and flexibility of their glasses – just give the lenses a clean and crystal-clear vision returns. Glasses are just as useful for longsightedness or shortsightedness, but not everyone gets used to the limited peripheral vision (unlike contact lenses, glasses can’t cover the entire field of view).
Contact lenses are worn right on the surface of your eye so they provide natural eyesight without distortion, and of course they cover the entire field of view. Modern contact lenses, like Acuvue’s, are super-thin and comfortable, but it wasn’t always that way. The soft hydrogel lenses we know today only became widely available as recently as the 1970s. Some people used to find contact lenses dry out quickly, but even that is rapidly becoming a distant memory. Most new advanced contact lenses stay comfortable for up to 16 hours.
2. Cool science and tech
Glasses now come with many different lens types: transition lenses (that react to the light), polarised lenses (anti-glare), multifocal lenses (to help you focus on both reading and long distances) and scratch-resistant coatings. Lenses can now be made extremely thin and light, so they are very comfortable to wear, and they are more precise to your prescription than ever before. They also offer a wide range of lens finishes, including UV filters, anti-glare and tough anti-scratch layers.
Contact lenses were first invented in 1801, but they’ve come a long way since then. Today you can choose from dailies, weeklies, or monthlies, all in the most advanced silicone hydrogel materials, and can even change your eye colour with coloured lenses. Many of the best contact lenses today now have UV filters to help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. There are even contact lenses being developed that incorporate Wi-Fi and an in-vision display, while Google is developing a contact lens that will help diabetes sufferers keep track of their blood glucose levels, although don’t expect these to be available any time soon! However, there are already ‘Triggerfish’ contact lenses available to help monitor for glaucoma.
3. Go for a look
Glasses are an instant fashion statement, giving you a bold, defined and unique look – and there are so many styles: from the cool minimalist look of Silhouette to the dynamic, bright colours of Etnia Barcelona. Research has even shown that glasses make you look more approachable and friendly!
Contact lenses on the other hand give you a natural look – if you’ve been wearing glasses for a long time you can sometimes pop in your contacts and enjoy a different style. Contacts go with anything, regardless of what you’re wearing.
4. Hassle free
Glasses are comfortable to wear, easy to clean and you can put them on or take them off whenever you need to. You also won’t need to replace glasses very often, only if your prescription changes – you can even just change your lenses and keep the same frames. Breathe new life into those sleek Tom Ford frames!
Contact lenses give you freedom to see clearly whilst on the go, whether you are driving, walking, cooking, working or playing sports – they don’t get steamed up or covered in rain, give you great vision throughout your whole field of view. Contact lenses move with your eyes and enable you to see everything around you.
5. Eye health
Glasses offer some protection from environmental factors such as wind, dust and debris, as well as having excellent UV filters.
Most modern contact lenses have good UV filters and open up the option for you to wear an endless variety of non-prescription sunglasses to look stylish and protect your eyes from the sun.
So, what’s the answer? Is it glasses or contacts?
It’s simple: use both. Many people find the best way to manage their vision is to vary between contact lenses and glasses to live their lives to the full. Both offer distinct style options and comfort advantages. If you do decide to mainly use contact lenses, remember you’ll still need your glasses too as your eyes will sometimes need a rest – and you’ll have a chance to enjoy your fabulous glasses!
For an eye test, you can simply book an appointment online or call us on 0800 40 20 20.