Why glasses and contact lenses?

Jaco Woest - B.Optom (UJ)

When visual correction is required, many people believe that a decision needs to be made whether they want to wear either contact lenses or glasses.  In actual fact a combination of the two options are often the best choice as each offers its own benefits and advantages.

Situational requirements:

For those of us who work long hours on the computer each and every day, the thought of wearing contact lenses  might not always seem appealing.  While contact lens materials have come a long way in offering good comfort throughout the day, it is true that some people might still experience some dryness, especially when doing computer work. On the other hand, as many already know, glasses are sometimes not ideal for certain activities, like running or social gatherings. Certain designs of contact lenses are ideal for occasional use and work well for use during such activities.  The fact is that each situation presents its own visual challenges and having both contact lenses and glasses allows us to choose the best option for each occasion. 

Seasonal changes:

Changes in season is often associated with ocular irritation as our eyes are exposed to different allergens, temperatures and humidity.  These acute changes can make wearing contact lenses less enjoyable and having a pair of glasses could really help during these periods.  

Allowing the eyes to rest:

As mentioned earlier, contact lens materials have come a long way and are able to offer good comfort and eye health due to their high oxygen permeability.  That being said, they do reduce the amount of oxygen available to the eye and could therefore lead to eye fatigue and discomfort if worn for prolonged periods of time continuously.  For this reason, even those who use contact lenses as their primary form of visual correction would benefit from having a pair of glasses to wear after a long day or over weekends to give the eyes a bit of a break from their contact lenses. 

As explained above, glasses and contact lenses, while both being forms of visual correction, can offer us different benefits in different situations.  Even when one is preferred above the other, having access to both allows us to choose the correct one for the correct occasion.