Defective vision: glasses or contact lenses?

Anyone who needs a new visual aid is faced with this question. Two opticians explain the advantages and disadvantages of the glasses

The right frame vs. small and invisible? Glasses come in many shapes and colors, and contact lenses are barely perceptible to other people

© Stocksy United / Suzanne Clements, W & B / Ragnar jewelry

Glasses protect the eyes from external influences ...

... for example from wind or dust particles. Special sports glasses do this particularly well because they are adapted to the shape of the face and also shield the sides. Sometimes they even prevent injuries. No ball can hit the eye directly, for example when playing golf or squash. Sports glasses can be made to suit individual eyesight or worn in addition to contact lenses. Swimming goggles protect the eyes from irritation from chlorine and bacteria.

Look into the distance or read? Switching is easy with glasses

Glasses on, glasses off. The model for computer work can be quickly and easily exchanged for varifocals. In contrast to contact lenses, you can do this without any preparation - and without a mirror.

Not only a visual aid, but also a fashionable accessory

Many people prefer glasses because they can make a fashion statement. Stand out with striking glasses? That works very well. Cat-eye glasses in the style of the 1960s or panto glasses - models with large, rounded lenses - are currently in fashion.

The care of glasses is done quickly

All you need is washing-up liquid, water and a microfiber cloth. If the glasses are not that clean, you can see worse - but there is no danger to the eye. Contact lenses, on the other hand, have to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. "There are substances in the tear fluid that are deposited in the lenses," says Eva Geisler, an optician from Munich.

Contact lens fans also need glasses days

Glasses and contact lenses make a good team. For example lens with prescription and sunglasses. Since the eyes need oxygen, glasses are also important for lens wearers. "This is especially true in phases of allergies, with a red eye or a severe cold," advises Dr. Stefan Bandlitz, lecturer at the Higher Technical School for Ophthalmic Optics in Cologne.

Contact lenses don't always feel good

They are initially a foreign body on the eye - despite optimal adaptation. Dry eyes create an uncomfortable feeling and significantly limit the maximum wearing time of lenses. If you are affected, you should switch to glasses if necessary and use moisturizing eye drops from the pharmacy to help.

No thick glasses, no changed eyes

Lenses don't make the eyes appear smaller or larger. They are also the better choice for various anatomical features - for example if the front surface of the eye is conically changed (keratoconus). "The contact lens lies directly on the eye. This enables sharper vision than with the best possible glasses," says Eva Geisler.

The poor eyesight goes unnoticed

For some people it is important that nobody notices their poor eyesight. Or they think that glasses won't suit them. In both cases, contact lenses are a good solution.

Saves the cleaning ritual: daily lenses as a practical alternative

Daily lenses are suitable for all those who wear contact lenses but do not want to practice meticulous hygiene. They do not need to be cleaned or disinfected. "This has the advantage that there is always a fresh lens on the eye," says Geisler.

These models may only be worn once and only for the recommended number of hours because they are made of thinner and open-pored material. According to Bandlitz, one thing is also essential for daily disposable lenses: "Be sure to wash your hands before putting on and taking off."

Regularly to the check

Both glasses and contact lens wearers should have their eyesight and visual aids checked regularly by a specialist.

If someone wears glasses or contact lenses that are no longer suitable, so-called asthenopic symptoms can arise. These are problems with exertion such as burning eyes, signs of fatigue, headaches or increased sensitivity to light.