The decision to wear contact lenses rather than eyeglasses usually comes down to your personal choice. Whether motivated by appearance or special features, your contact lens prescription will be different than your eyeglass formula. Dr. Edward Fries and his team at Decatur Eye Center in Decatur, Texas, can help you weigh the factors involved in choosing contacts over glasses. Call today to make an appointment at Decatur Eye Center.

Contacts Q & A

by Edward H. Fries, MS, OD

What are some of the advantages of using contacts?

Perhaps the biggest advantage to contact lens use is that contacts sit directly on your eye, matching the curvature and correcting refractory problems across the entire light-gathering surface of the eye. There’s a wider field of view than with glasses, and no obstruction from frames, creating blind spots and boundaries between corrected and uncorrected vision. Similarly, contacts are unobtrusive when you wear them. There’s no risk of contacts falling off when you’re exercising or participating in a sport. Contacts don’t fog up in adverse weather conditions, such as moving from cold to warm conditions. For the fashion-conscious, not only do contacts go with every outfit, you can even change the color of your eyes or wear special effects lenses for costume play. Some people suffer irritation on the nose or around the ears from the constant presence of eyeglasses. Contacts prevent pressure or rubbing.

Ortho-k contacts, worn overnight, reshape your eyes as you sleep, temporarily correcting the effects of nearsightedness, so you can get through the day without contacts or glasses.

Are there drawbacks to wearing contacts?

Perhaps the biggest drawback is applying contacts. Some people have trouble with the idea of touching their eyeball. Proper technique and regular use of contacts minimize this issue. That touching can, however, introduce bacteria into the eye, resulting in infection.

Contacts are also maintenance-intensive, requiring daily cleaning. To counter this, there are disposable daily-wear contacts, as well as extended wear contacts that may be used for up to 30 days of continuous use. This adds to the expense of contact lens use. Even regular contacts can be more expensive than glasses over time.

Contacts also contribute to certain eye problems. Since oxygen at the eye’s surface is blocked by contacts, regular wear may cause or aggravate a condition called dry eye syndrome. Computer vision syndrome is a condition that affects some people who use computer screens daily for extended times. Wearing contacts contributes to this condition.

Are there reasons why a person can’t wear contacts?

There are certain rare prescriptions that may not lend themselves to correction through contact lenses. High levels of astigmatism generally correct better with eyeglasses. If your eyes suffer severely with allergies, contacts may aggravate allergic reactions. Blepharitis — swelling of the eyelids — may also interfere with contact use.