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If you’re thinking about switching to contact lenses, you’re not alone. According to the American Optometric Association, an estimated 45 million Americans wear contact lenses.

People wear contact lenses to correct a range of refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Contact lenses may also be used to treat eye diseases such as keratoconus or damage to the cornea causes by infection or injury.

The important question is whether contact lenses are right for you. One way to help you decide is to ask your eye doctor for samples to allow you can try out contact lenses for a short period of time. You should also weigh the advantages and disadvantages of switching from glasses to contacts. This article is not exhaustive, but it does provide an overview of some of the top pros and cons of contact lenses.

Good Reasons to Switch from Glasses to Contacts

Contacts give you a full field of focused vision

Although contact lenses are available in the same prescription strength as glasses, they give wearers a full field of focused vision wherever they look. Because they move with your eyes, contacts help you track action with sharp, direct, and peripheral vision. Switching to contacts also means you can say goodbye to the reflections and distortions you get with glasses.

  • Contact lenses don’t steam up or get water spots
  • They give wearers a wider field of vision
  • They don’t distort or reflect light

Contacts give you the freedom to lead an active lifestyle

If you lead an active lifestyle (or want to), contact lenses give you more freedom and flexibility to enjoy your favorite activities. Lenses are lighter and less obtrusive than glasses, which means you can run and move with greater ease. And if you participate in contact sports, such as football or lacrosse, contact lenses won’t interfere with protective headgear.

  • Contact lenses won’t bounce up and down or slip off
  • They don’t rub against your ear or pinch your nose
  • They won’t slow you down or restrict your freedom of movement

Contacts can give you more confidence

There’s nothing wrong with wearing eyeglasses—in fact, some people love the way they look in glasses—but for others, contact lenses can improve how they see and feel about themselves. The CDC even mentions that some children and teens report feeling dramatically better about their appearance when wearing contact lenses.

  • Contact lenses don’t obscure your face with frames, giving you a natural look
  • They make it possible to show off eye make-up and lash extensions
  • You can wear contacts with the latest style of fashionable, non-prescription sunglasses

Disadvantages of Wearing Contact Lenses

Contacts are more work than glasses

Cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses can be complicated and inconvenient. The lenses themselves also require more care and maintenance than eyeglasses. If you’re looking for an easy alternative to wearing glasses, contact lenses might not be the answer—but LASIK surgery might be.

  • Proper contact lens care and hygiene does take some time and commitment
  • Wearers open themselves up to complications if they don’t properly care for their lenses
  • Lenses come with specific directions for use—far more than eyeglasses

Contacts carry more risk than glasses

Almost all complications are due to poor hygiene and maintenance, but the fact remains that contact lenses do carry more risk than eyeglasses. Oversights in lens care can cause irritation, conjunctivitis, dry eye syndrome, and other uncomfortable eye problems. The CDC reports the following statistics related to contact lens complications and risk factors:

  • Serious eye infections that can lead to blindness affect up to one out of every 500 contact lens users per year
  • Between 40%-90% of contact lens wearers do not properly follow the care instructions for their contact lenses
  • Keratitis—a painful eye infection often linked to improper contact lens use—leads to one million doctor and hospital visits annually

Contacts can cost more than prescription glasses

Prescription eyeglasses can be pricey, especially if you choose premium features such as designer frames and progressive lenses, but contact lenses can be just as expensive—and in some cases, even more. The price depends on a lot of factors, but because of how often lenses need to be replaced (every two weeks or so for disposable contacts) the annual and long-term costs can exceed glasses.

Eliminate or Reduce the Need for Glasses and Contacts

If you’re considering making the switch from glasses to contacts, you might also consider laser vision-correction surgery. At Southwestern Eye Center, we utilize the most sophisticated laser technologies to deliver unsurpassed accuracy that often leads to 20/20 vision or better and reduces or eliminates the need to wear eyeglasses and contact lenses.

The best way to determine which vision correction option is right for you is to speak with an eye doctor that can assess your specific needs and find a solution that fits your unique lifestyle. Contact the eye care professionals Southwestern Eye Center if you have any questions.