Benefits Of Contact Lenses

Should you wear glasses or contact lenses? Compare the advantages and disadvantages to decide if contact lenses are best for you.

If your vision is not the best it can be, you can potentially correct it. In some cases, that correction requires surgery. However, many times you can improve your vision with corrective lenses. You simply have to decide which type of lenses you want. One option is to choose glasses, which have been around the longest and are considered more traditional. Another is to select contact lenses, which have become increasingly popular since their invention in the late 1800s. In fact, approximately 45 million U.S. residents wear contact lenses. 

Contact lenses have several potential advantages over glasses. However, they also have some possible disadvantages. That is why you need to compare all of their features before you opt to use them. Here are some of the many benefits of contact lenses and facts to know before purchasing them.

Contact Lenses Are Sometimes More Aesthetically Pleasing Than Glasses

Some people feel that glasses make them look older or more sophisticated. Others think glasses are unattractive or hide their eyes too much. If you belong to the latter group, contact lenses can help. They allow you to improve your vision without altering your appearance too much. Although, you do have the option to request colored or customized contact lenses. Doing so can provide you with a new look that is more subtle than that achieved with glasses or a completely unique look that draws attention to you. However, a prescription is required to make sure such custom lenses fit your eyes properly and do not cause side effects or injuries.

Contact Lenses Help You Improve Your Field of View in Multiple Ways

One of the major advantages of contact lenses is a natural field of view. Glasses cannot move with your eyeballs. Contacts can. Therefore, your vision is unobstructed. Your eyes can remain focused on what you are looking at. Glasses are limited in that respect because they do not move. Also, many eyeglasses have frames that are distracting. They can disrupt or limit your field of view. 

Another drawback of glasses is they are at the mercy of certain environmental conditions. As a result, the field of vision is even more at risk. Contacts are far less prone to those environmental disruptions. For example, contacts are not negatively impacted by:

  • Reflected Light or Glare

  • High Winds

  • Rain or Snow

  • Heat or Steam

Contact Lenses Are More Convenient in Certain Professions or Daily Circumstances

There are many pastimes and professions in which you can easily wear glasses or contact lenses. However, there are also some in which contact lenses are much more suitable. For instance, contact lenses are often better for athletes. That is because glasses can easily fall off or get damaged during sports. Similarly, people who exercise frequently often prefer contacts when working out. 

In daily life, there are also situations where contact lenses are potentially beneficial to you. For example, if you like to swim you can wear contact lenses under swimming goggles. Doing so can provide you with better underwater vision. You cannot wear glasses when swimming. You may also prefer contact lenses when you need to go out in rainy or foggy weather. Another possibility is you may frequently lay your glasses down and misplace them. Contact lenses stay in for one or more days at a time, making them difficult to misplace.

What Types of Contact Lenses Are Available?

There are two primary criteria to consider when selecting contact lenses. The first is the period of time for which the lenses are used. Some contact lenses are designed for a single use lasting for one day. Others are made to be reused for multiple days with varying expiration periods. For example, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and annual lenses are all available. Typically, lenses designed for more long-term use are sturdier and of better quality. However, you must care for them by cleaning them and storing them properly between uses.

The second consideration is the materials used to make the lens. Those materials can include a plastic called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), silicone, and water-based plastics called hydrogels. The softness or hardness of each lens is determined by the materials used to create it. The materials used also affect the flexibility, clarity, and longevity of each lens.

How Much Do Contact Lenses Cost? 

There are many factors that go into determining contact lens costs, including the type of lenses selected and the intended longevity of the lenses. For example, 2021 figures indicate the average cost of single-day contact lenses ranges from $35 to $70 for a box of 90 lenses. A pair of yearly lenses averages approximately $50 to $80, making it appear a cheaper option. However, you must also factor in the cost of contact lens solution, which is not necessary for daily disposable lenses.

Does Insurance Fully Cover Contact Lenses or Reduce Related Costs? 

Most insurance companies do not fully cover the cost of contact lenses. However, some do provide partial coverage. You may also have the option to combine insurance benefits. For example, you may have basic health coverage and supplemental vision insurance. If so, both might offer useful partial discounts on contact lenses. Contact your insurance provider to determine your level of contact lens coverage.

What Else Should You Know Before Switching to Contact Lenses?

Many contact lenses are available over-the-counter (OTC). If you want to try contact lenses, OTC options may tempt you. However, they are not necessarily best for your eyes. Often, they are not made with proper materials or to specific standards. They also may not have the proper shape or feel for your eyes. Some OTC contact lenses can even cause serious injuries, such as scratched corneas, ulcers, and eye infections. Some of those issues can cause temporary vision impairment. Others may lead to permanent loss of vision.

Even if you find OTC contacts that are manufactured properly and safely, they may not meet your vision needs. Most OTC contacts do not have the same levels of quality, clarity, and comfort as their prescription counterparts. Speak to your ophthalmologist to request a contact lens assessment before making the switch from eyeglasses to contacts. He or she can help you determine the best type of contact lenses for your specific vision issues, as well as your budget and lifestyle.