Understanding Vision

Contact Lenses or Glasses?

Both are a good choice. It’s really a matter of taste – and what feels right for your eyes

8 September 2019
  • What's the difference between individualised spectacle lenses and "off-the-shelf" lenses?

Whether you’re kissing someone, playing ball sports or riding a horse: eyeglass frames do tend to get in the way sometimes. Your lenses may get all fogged up, which can spoil a romantic moment. For this reason, many near- and far-sighted people opt for contact lenses. They are small, almost invisible and can even correct cases of ametropia. However, there are many arguments in favor of glasses as well - and sometimes you can’t do without them. 

Those who only need a visual aid for reading and driving, for instance, are better served with a pair of glasses. Taking them on and off is a speedy affair, they are low-maintenance and do not incur additional costs. Furthermore, some  visual defects  cannot be corrected by contact lenses: For example, certain forms of squinting or impaired binocular vision. Contact lenses can also be incompatible in some cases of diabetes or “dry eyes.” For these conditions, only classic lenses and eyeglass frames will work.

Apart from that, contact lenses are suitable for almost every eye. They show their strengths in sports and recreation in particular: Contact lenses do not fog up or slip and they afford an unlimited field of vision and a more natural look for the eyes and face of the people who wear them. However, it is not just appearance that makes a difference in favor of contact lenses, but there are some good medical pros as well: For example, an irregular curvature of the cornea can only be corrected with suitably adjusted contact lenses.

The two types of contact lenses

There are essentially two types of contact lenses: Rigid gas permeable (colloquially known as “hard”) and soft lenses.

Nowadays, the use of soft contact lenses is widespread. They are characterized by their high water content and optimum oxygen permeability, and are thus barely noticeable. The result: Excellent compatibility, spontaneity and wearing comfort – a pleasure to wear from morning to night and for every occasion.

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses, also known as “hard” lenses. They may take longer to get used to, but they are also sturdier, require less maintenance and are also the only correction option for certain visual defects. They have the best long-term compatibility thanks to maximum resistance against deposits and the highest possible level of oxygen permeability: They can usually be worn for years without any problems if the level of visual impairment remains constant.

The same rules apply to both options: Proper customization and thorough care are indispensable. A sufficient trial period and any necessary corrections should precede a contact lens purchase. When it comes to hygiene in particular, they require a little more attention on the part of the wearer than eyeglasses: When handling contact lenses, it is important to thoroughly clean your hands, lenses and container (follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use diligently!). In addition, regular check-up appointments with your eye care professional are recommended – once a year for rigid gas permeable contact lenses and every six months for soft ones.

Struggling to make a decision? It does not have to be a hard choice. Ideally, contact lenses should be purchased in addition to glasses. That way, you always have a back-up on hand and can choose the visual aid that is better suited for specific occasions: glasses for the office, contact lenses for going out.

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