Glasses, Contacts, Surgery – Which is Right for You?
Over 50% of Americans report vision ailments such as nearsightedness, farsighted and astigmatism. Given these numbers, there is a good chance you yourself have noticed distances becoming murkier and faces becoming more obscured with age. You ultimately end up surrendering to the fact that you need a vision aid.
Many different people of all ages, ranging from toddlers to adults, have found that they need the assistance of prescription lenses to see to the best of their ability. The most commonly used method of vision correction comes in the form of eyeglasses. However, in the past 40 years many eyes have increasingly turned to contact lenses as a solution. But for those seeking an alternative that offers many long-term benefits not associated with contacts or glasses, LASIK eye surgery is another option. With so many options available, this can easily leave you stumped andquestioning which choice is the best one for you—glasses, contacts or LASIK surgery?
Prescription glasses are a helpful, easy fix for immediately correcting vision. They are simple to use and a pair can potentially last you for a couple years (if you’re careful).
Prescription lenses are quick and easy to slip on whenever you need them. Glasses are great for children or teens that are not yet ready to handle the responsibility of contacts, or for adults who are uneasy about meddling with contacts. Also, eyeglasses have become a popular fashion accessory, so there exists a wide variety of stylish frames in all sorts of colors and shapes to choose from. If you like your appearance with glasses, then this is a fun way for you to dress up your eyes.
Eyeglasses are prone to being scratched, damaged, broken or lost and can easily slip off your face. Their fragility makes them almost impossible to wear during most sporting or water activities, and they are probably no match for your 4-year-old toddler or your Wednesday night soccer club. The relatively flat lenses and small frames can be obstructive and limiting, and can reduce the peripheral vision that is vital for many sports and physical activities.
While prescription lenses can be practical for daily use, there has been little advancement in the technology and design of glasses over time. The lenses will fog up when you step outside on a hot, humid day and become unusable if caught outside in the rain. Designer frames or special add-ons such as polycarbonate lenses are sure to come at an additional price. Every pair of glasses you buy is also accompanied with annual eye examination fees, corresponding prescription sunglasses, and the unforeseen costs of replacing lost or broken frames.
Contact lenses are thin lenses that you place directly on your eyeball to correct your vision. You need a prescription for the lenses but fortunately, the process of getting them fitted is simple and painless.
The idea of sticking a clear plastic lens onto your eye can be intimidating at first. However, there are so many different fits and options for contact lenses out there; so, there is a high chance that you will find a lens that fits seamlessly and feels weightless on your eyes.
If you have an active lifestyle, contact lenses have the benefit of staying in place. They can be worn in sports and with protective goggles, headgear and non-prescription sunglasses. Contacts deliver a wide field of viewwithout having to deal with frames getting in the way. Appearance wise, some people prefer to show off their lovely eyes and contacts allow them to do so, lens-free.
Similar to glasses, contact lenses are prone to becoming lost, misplaced or damaged. Additionally, they carry the risk of being scratched, slipping and tearing. Many people also complain of symptoms such as sore eyes, red eyes, itchy eyes and certain complications due to allergies. As a contact wearer, you deal with the struggle of having to take out your contacts every night before bed to avoid irritated eyes. Navigating to the bathroom or attending to a crying baby in the middle of the nightbecomes much more challenging when everything around you is a blur.
Careful attention needs to be given when it comes to cleaning and caring for your lenses. You don’t want foreign bacteria making its way into your eye with each application. Contact lenses are also sensitive to certain environments—i.e., anywhere where wind, sand, water or salt is involved. The monthly cost of contact lenses doesn’t seem like much at first. However, it accumulates to a few hundred dollars a year, which later adds up to thousands of dollars in vision correction in the long-term.
LASIK eye surgery is a procedure that gets to the source of your corneal defectsand corrects vision ailments such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
While glasses and contacts are external methods for helping to correct poor vision, they don’t solve the fundamental problem. Wearing corrective lenses is just likeplopping on a Band-Aid to hide a wound underneath. But unlike a Band-Aid, lenses aren’t workingto heal the wound.LASIK not only improves your quality of vision, but it can also improve your quality of lifestyle. LASIK gives you freedom. You are free to swim, splash, sprint or stretch. You are free of having to reach over for your glasses on your nightstand every single morning and instead you get to rise up out of bed each day with perfect vision.
Any one at any age can have LASIK done, as long as they have been screened as suitable candidates for the procedure by a qualified eye surgeon. For those who find eye surgery frightening, research shows that the risk of contracting eye infections as a result of long-term contact lens use is higher than the risk of complications after corrective eye surgery. LASIK surgery is completed in minutes with no pain or discomfort. To top it all off, recovery time is short and the results are immediate. You wake up to superior vision as soon as the next day.
The cost of LASIK may be the biggest factor that prevents most people from having their eyes go under the knife. Undeniably, spending thousands of dollars on any one thing is a huge commitment. However, you may want to examine and compare the cost of corrective lenses, as these ongoing eye carerelated expenses quickly add up over time.
Additionally, LASIK instantly corrects vision, but it is possible that LASIK won’t free you of glasses or contacts forever. By the time you reach the age of 50, you may need reading glasses due to the use of bifocals or the effects of presbyopia. The results from LASIK are also permanent; those who prefer a more temporary and controlled vision correction solution should stick to contacts or glasses.
At the end of the day, you should select the vision correction method that is best aligned with your needs and lifestyle. Everyone’s necessities are different, so determining what your vision-related needs are is a good first step. If you are wondering which solution is best for you, consult your doctor or eye care professional for more information. Luckily, we live in a time where a wealth of options exists— when it comes to eyesight correction, there is certainly an option that best suits you.
Daphne Lefran has been writing about health-related topics for many years, and currently writes on behalf of the laser eye surgeons at Eyecare 20/20 in New Jersey. In her spare time, she enjoys capturing moments through a camera lens; traveling to new and far away places and cheering on the Florida State Seminoles. Follow her on Twitter @daphnelefran or find her on LinkedIn.