Dispelling Common Myths About Glasses & Contact Lenses: Facts You Need to Know

24th June 2024

Eyewear, whether glasses or contact lenses, often comes with a host of misconceptions that can leave many feeling confused, hesitant or unsure about the best choices for their visual health. Whether you're a lifelong glasses wearer, contact lens user, or someone considering vision correction for the first time, it's natural to have questions. Can glasses really weaken your eyesight over time? Are contact lenses always the superior choice? How does modern screen use impact our vision?


Glasses and contact lenses


This comprehensive guide aims to address these common concerns and provide clear, factual answers to help you make informed decisions about your eye health. From debunking myths about the weakening effects of glasses to exploring the pros and cons of contacts, we've got you covered. We'll also delve into the specifics of prescription lenses, discuss the nuances of contact lens types, and offer practical advice for maintaining visual health in the digital age.

Common Questions About Glasses & Contact Lenses

Many have questions about whether glasses can weaken eyesight, how they compare to contact lenses, and the impact of modern habits like screen use on vision. This section addresses these key concerns to provide clarity.

Do Glasses Weaken Your Eyes Over Time?

Myth: Wearing glasses weakens your eyes.
Fact: Glasses compensate for vision issues but have no impact on the physical condition of your eyes. Prescription glasses correct refractive errors, making it easier to see. Glasses do not change the eventual progression of conditions like 
myopia or hyperopia. They help reduce eyestrain and improve overall comfort while focusing.

Are Glasses Better Than Contacts?

Myth: One is always better than the other.
Fact: The choice between glasses and contact lenses depends on personal preference and lifestyle. Glasses require less maintenance and offer some protection against environmental factors. Contact lenses provide a wider field of vision and are more suitable for activities like sports. Each option has its pros and cons, and the best choice varies for each individual.

Do Glasses Make Your Eyes Smaller?

Myth: Glasses visually shrink your eyes.
Fact: Certain prescriptions, especially high-powered lenses, can cause a slight minification effect. This is due to the way lenses bend light. However, this effect is usually minor and not noticeable in everyday interactions. 
Choosing the right frame size can also minimise this effect, balancing the look of your eyes and face.

Are Glasses Prescriptions the Same as Contact Lenses?

Myth: The prescriptions for both glasses and contact lenses are identical.
Fact: Glasses and contact lens prescriptions differ due to the distance between the corrective lens and the eye. Contact lenses sit directly on the eye's surface, requiring different measurements like base curve and diameter. An optometrist can provide separate prescriptions tailored to each method of vision correction.

Is Wearing Glasses Uncomfortable?

Concern: Glasses can be uncomfortable and burdensome to wear all day.
Reality: Modern glasses are designed for comfort, with lightweight materials and adjustable nose pads. You shouldn’t feel discomfort if your glasses are appropriately adjusted and suited to your facial structure.

Is It Harmful To Frequently Switch Between Glasses and Contact Lenses?

Concern: Alternating between glasses and contacts might harm vision.
Reality: Switching between glasses and contact lenses is generally safe and can be beneficial. Contacts work well for activities requiring a broad field of vision, while glasses provide a break from lens wear. Keeping both in good condition, observing proper hygiene, and consulting with an eye care professional can ensure healthy vision management.

Do Contact Lenses Provide Better Visual Clarity Than Glasses?

Myth: Contact lenses offer sharper vision.
Fact: Both contact lenses and glasses can provide excellent visual correction. Contact lenses often offer a more natural field of view with fewer distortions, especially at the edges. Glasses, though, provide reliable correction, and additional protection from environmental elements, and are easier to handle for most people.

Does Sitting Too Close to Screens Damage Your Vision?

Concern: Proximity to screens impairs eyesight.
Reality: Sitting close to screens does not damage the eyes, but it can cause digital eye strain. Symptoms include dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision. Practising the 20-20-20 rule (taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away) can alleviate strain. Ensuring proper lighting and screen settings also helps.


Contact lens


Understanding Contact Lenses

Contact lenses come in various types, each offering specific benefits and considerations regarding maintenance and eye health. It's important to understand the differences between daily and monthly contacts.

Daily Vs. Monthly Contacts

Daily contact lenses are designed for single use. Wearers insert them in the morning and discard them at night. This convenience eliminates the need for cleaning solutions, reducing the risk of eye infections from improper lens care. However, they can be more expensive over time due to the continual purchase of new lenses.

Monthly contact lenses require daily cleaning and proper storage. They are suitable for extended use, typically up to 30 days. While they might seem cost-effective in the long run, poor maintenance can lead to complications such as bacterial buildup. Some monthly lenses offer enhanced comfort and durability, benefiting those who have specific vision needs or wear lenses for extended periods.

Addressing Lifestyle Concerns

Using glasses or contact lenses often raises various lifestyle concerns. This section explores how glasses and contacts can fit seamlessly into active lifestyles and manage specific conditions like dry eyes.

Glasses in Active Lifestyles

For those with active lifestyles, glasses may seem cumbersome, particularly during sports or physical activities. Modern innovations such as sports glasses provide a secure and comfortable fit. They are designed with impact-resistant materials and often include adjustable straps or silicone nose pads to prevent slippage.

For regular activities, options like lightweight frames, flexible materials, and anti-scratch lenses can significantly enhance comfort and durability. Additionally, opting for glasses with UV Protection can shield the eyes from harmful rays during outdoor activities.

People who engage in water-based sports might benefit from prescription swimming goggles which offer clear vision while being waterproof. Such advancements enable individuals to maintain their active routines without compromising on vision correction.

Contacts for Dry Eyes

Dry eyes present a common challenge for contact lens wearers. Choosing the right type of contacts can help alleviate discomfort. Daily disposable lenses are often recommended as they reduce the build-up of residues that can irritate the eyes.

Hydrogel and silicone hydrogel lenses retain more moisture compared to standard lenses, thus providing prolonged comfort.

Proper maintenance practices are essential, including using contact lens solutions designed for sensitive eyes. Increasing indoor humidity through humidifiers and taking breaks from screen time also aid in preventing dryness.


Woman wearing glasses


Improving Visual Health

Maintaining visual health involves both preventive measures and regular check-ups. By following a few simple tips, you can ensure your eyes remain healthy.

Regular eye exams are essential. These check-ups help in detecting issues early, including glaucoma and macular degeneration. It’s recommended that an eye exam is taken every two years.

A balanced diet plays a significant role. Foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, such as carrots, spinach, and nuts, are beneficial for eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish also support good vision.

Limiting screen time is crucial. Prolonged use of digital devices can lead to digital eye strain. Implementing the 20-20-20 rule—taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away—can alleviate strain.

Proper lighting while reading or working can also reduce eye strain. Ensuring that the room is well-lit helps prevent squinting and discomfort.

Wearing appropriate eyewear is important, especially in environments where there's a risk of injury or exposure to harmful UV rays. Sunglasses with UV protection shield the eyes from potential damage caused by the sun.

Hydration matters. Keeping the body well-hydrated helps maintain a healthy tear film on the eye's surface, preventing dryness and irritation.

For contact lens users, proper hygiene is critical. Always wash hands before handling lenses and follow the recommended cleaning regimen to avoid infections.

Incorporating these practices into daily routines can significantly improve visual health and prevent potential issues. Regular attention to eye care ensures long-term health benefits and clearer vision.

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