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Glasses or Contacts? How to Choose Which is Right for You

At some point, approximately 90% of Americans wear corrective lenses of some type. People who need to correct their vision often choose contact lenses or eyeglasses. Many wear a combination of both, either at the same time or at different times. Only you and your vision care specialist can determine whether glasses or contacts are right for you. Here are some things to keep in mind when making that decision.

People choose to wear glasses because they are convenient. It is possible to open your eyes in the morning, put your glasses on, and enjoy immediate perfect vision. Reading glasses can be put on and taken off in a matter of seconds. There is no sterilization to worry about and no chance of infection from normal use. They come in many different styles, colors, and shapes, and can complement your appearance. Glasses can be very affordable. They can be tinted and made into prescription sunglasses, or you can purchase special lenses that get darker when exposed to sunlight or bright light. Eyeglasses will not cause the eyes to suffer from dryness or redness.

Despite the advantages of wearing eyeglasses, there are disadvantages as well. When you wear glasses, there is a loss of clear peripheral vision. Glasses can fog up when switching from cold to warm temperature or from dry to humid air. Some people do not like the way that glasses look, while others find it hard to get used to the weight of eyeglasses on the face. Sometimes people experience a glare on their glasses, especially when the glasses are used for driving at night. There are special coatings available your eye care specialist will recommend that will reduce glare and reflection.

Unlike glasses, contact lenses do not alter your appearance. They do not get blurry or fog up in temperature extremes. There is no extra weight on your face, and contacts are usually affordable. Most people find contacts comfortable to wear.

There is a risk of infection when using contact lenses if proper sterilization techniques are not practiced. Contacts must be sterilized after each use and left to soak for a certain number of hours. Some people, especially those prone to dry eyes, find contact lenses irritating. There are many types of contact lenses; if you find that one kind bothers your eyes, your eye doctor may prescribe a different type.

Many people use glasses and contacts together or separately. Some use contacts to correct their nearsightedness and wear them most of the day, while also using glasses to read. Others wear glasses on some days and contact lenses on alternate days. Still others may wear glasses for one part of the day and switch to contacts for the rest of the day.

Your vision care specialist may recommend one type of vision correction over the other if you have certain eye diseases or are prone to eye problems. People with severe astigmatism, for example, may have a hard time wearing certain kinds of contact lenses. Speak to your eye doctor or optician to help you to decide which kind of vision correction is right for you. He or she will be able to help you evaluate your lifestyle to see whether glasses, contacts, or a combination of both is best for your particular eyes.

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