What makes some people choose glasses for their eyes over contact lenses, and some others just the opposite? How is one different from the other, other than in appearance?

Comparison chart

Contact Lenses versus Glasses comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartContact LensesGlasses
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  • current rating is 3.6/5
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Usage & Care Needs to be submerged in lens care solution when not in use and needs to be replaced periodically. Lenses need to be wiped clean every so often to get rid of the dirt and other particles.
Problems Dry eyes, cornea and eyelid related problems No known problems
Usage time Up to 14 hours when using daily disposable contact lens No limit
Types Corrective, Cosmetic, XChrom, Soflens, Hard lens, Therapeutic Corrective, Sunglasses, 3D Glasses, Reading Glasses, Bifocals, Progressive, Bioptics
Inventor Otto Wichterle and his assistant Drahoslav Lím Salvino D'Armate
Definition A contact lens is a corrective, cosmetic, or therapeutic lens usually placed on the cornea of the eye. Glasses or spectacles are frames bearing lenses worn in front of the eyes, normally for vision correction, eye protection, or for protection from UV rays.
Cost Starting at $18 and going upto $250. Rates vary depending on the eye condition (corrective lens) and package you opt for (monthly, weekly, daily disposable) Starting at $70 and going up to $200 depending on your eye problems and store
Storage A flat, dual case with circular sections for each lens. Rectangular case. Modern glasses sometimes come in cylindrical cases.
The thin film of transparent contact lens can be seen around the pupil
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The thin film of transparent contact lens can be seen around the pupil

A contact lens is a corrective, cosmetic, or therapeutic lens usually placed on the cornea of the eye. Otto Wichterle and his assistant Drahoslav Lím are credited with manufacturing the first of several modern contact lenses and the gel that is used to manufacture them. Glasses or spectacles are frames bearing lenses worn in front of the eyes, normally for vision correction, eye protection, or for protection from UV rays. Salvino D'Armate is credited for having invented the first pair of wearable corrective eye glasses.

Man wearing a pair of glasses
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Man wearing a pair of glasses

Types

There are various types of contact lenses available in the market.

Lenses are also differentiated on the basis of the material that they are manufactured with. Initially lenses were made from glass and eventually Plexiglas was used as a substitute. These lenses came to be known as hard lenses. Later, polymacon was used in place of Plexiglas and a new breed of lenses was manufactured. These were known as soft lens. The latest materials to be used are silicon and hydrogels.

Spectacles or glasses are used to correct disorders like myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Progressive and bifocal lenses used in glasses are used to treat both long sightedness and short sightedness. Progressive lenses differ from bifocals as they do not have a line or a visible demarcation differentiating between lenses when the user shifts from one lens to another. Bioptics are those glasses that are used by people with severe eyesight impairment.

Wear Time

Though contact lenses can be worn for up to 14 hours a day, one needs to switch to the traditional spectacles once the 14 hours run out. A new category of contact lenses which are disposable on a daily basis, offer comfort for over 14 hours. Contact lenses should be worn for the shortest period of time since it has a few hazards related to it. Spectacles have no upper limit for their usage.

Problems

Contact lenses are manufactured from chemical substances. Though these are suitable to most wearers, problems related to the cornea, eyelid and dryness of the eye have been reported. Wearing spectacles has no known ill effect on the wearer.

Usage & Care

Contact lenses can be used to their optimum capacity if they are well taken care of. One needs to ensure that the contact lens remains submerged in the protective solution at all time when it is not being used. The solution that it should be submerged in, should be changed on a regular basis as well. Spectacles need no external aid for care, except a few wipes to clear off any oil or dust particles that have settles on its lenses.

References

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