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Glasses or contact lenses: what you need to consider

In partnership with Dr Joe Paul

Our complete guide will help you make a decision

Young man wearing a black beanie and cool glasses drinking coffee at a cafe
Young man wearing a black beanie and cool glasses drinking coffee at a cafe

Choosing between glasses and contact lenses to correct your vision can seem tricky at first. Will you be able to wear glasses when you play sport? Will you have a hard time putting contacts in and will they be uncomfortable? There are pros and cons of glasses and pros and cons of contacts, so the type of eyewear you choose mainly depends on your lifestyle and preference. Our complete guide to glasses versus contacts will answer all your questions and help you make an informed decision.

Benefits of glasses

  • Glasses are easy and don’t require as much cleaning and care as contacts

  • Glasses tend to be less expensive than contact lenses over time

  • You can choose from a wide variety of frames to suit your personality and style

  • You’ve got less risk of eye infections when you wear glasses because you don’t need to touch your eyes

  • Glasses may be more comfortable if you have dry or sensitive eyes

Related: Do I need an eye test?

Disadvantages of glasses

  • Your peripheral vision may be blocked by your frames or distorted if you have a strong prescription

  • Some people find that the weight of their glasses on their nose and behind their ears is uncomfortable or causes headaches

  • You may not like how you look in glasses, especially if you have a strong prescription that makes the edges of your lenses look thick or your eyes appear smaller or larger

  • Your lenses can get fogged up, wet or dirty when it’s cold, raining or you’re playing sport

  • Glasses can be lost or damaged

“Some professions or hobbies may not be suitable for glasses wear,” says Dr Joe Paul, Head of Professional Services Optometry at Specsavers. “But contact-lens wearers should always have a pair of glasses available for when their eyes need a break from lens wear.”

Related: How to choose the right glasses for your face shape

Beautiful woman with a shaved head wearing a purple jumper and glasses while laughing in the park

Benefits of contact lenses

  • Contact lenses provide a wider field of vision than glasses and don’t cause distortions like glasses can

  • They aren’t affected by weather and don’t get in the way when you’re exercising or playing sport

  • Contacts don’t change your appearance

  • Most people get used to wearing contacts quickly and find them comfortable and easy to insert

  • You can choose between daily disposable contact lenses and extended wear contacts that can be worn even at night for up to 30 days (but should be taken out regularly for cleaning)

Disadvantages of contact lenses

  • Contacts may not be suitable if you have drier-than-usual eyes, allergies, an illness such as diabetes or arthritis, or you’re frequently exposed to dust

  • They require regular cleaning and care with the appropriate products to avoid irritation, inflammation, eye infections and damage to your eyesight

  • Contacts are generally more expensive than glasses in the long term

  • Contact-lens wearers who work at computers are more likely to suffer from computer vision syndrome – which is when prolonged digital-screen use causes eyestrain and discomfort  – than people who wear glasses

  • They usually require more follow-up care and more frequent prescription renewals than glasses

“Some complex prescriptions may also not be suitable for contact lenses,” adds Joe. “Your optometrist will examine the front surface of your eye, as well as your prescription, to determine your contact-lens eligibility.”

When it comes to making a final decision, it’s always best to chat to your optometrist for personalised advice and you can always check out our Find a Provider to search nib’s network of local, trusted optometrists.

Remember, no matter what your needs or preference when it comes to eyewear, with nib optical Extras cover, we can help maintain your vision for less. The best bit? Getting a quote online with nib takes just a few moments.

Please note: The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner. 

Dr Joe Paul, an optometrist wearing a collared shirt and looking at the camera

In partnership with

Dr Joe Paul

Dr Joe Paul is the Head of Professional Services at Specsavers, providing clinical and professional support to Specsavers optometrists across Australia and New Zealand. Joe has a PhD in glaucoma research and has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Eye Research Australia, and as an optometrist at Specsavers and private practice over the last decade.