Usually, your optician writes you a prescription for contact lenses, or glasses, if they examine you, and decide that your vision needs correction. Both prescriptions can help you to see well.  Choosing to wear either glasses or contact lenses for vision correction depends on personal preferences. This includes lifestyle, comfort, convenience, and budget.

Neither of the two prescriptions is better than the other. That’s because they both have advantages and disadvantages. This is in terms of vision, ease of use, and eye health. So the question arises, contact lenses or glasses, which one is better and what’s the difference between these two prescriptions?


We all know what glasses are. They’re a staple of vision correction, and a lot of people use them daily.

Prescription glasses can serve various purposes based on the needs of the wearer, coming in two main types. That is, single-vision and multifocal lenses. The people that struggle to see clearly from multiple distances are better off buying multifocal lenses. The other options that people choose from include:

  • Bifocal
  • Trifocal
  • Progressive lenses

Sunglasses are easy to use and the wearer only needs to put them on. You also don’t need to have any cleaning solutions for your prescription sunglasses because their overall maintenance is low. If you want a break from your cool prescription sunglasses, all you need to do is to take them off.

Apart from accessibility, glasses are also customizable and a client can get a personalized pair of glasses that suit their style as well as their visual needs. 

Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are a good alternative for those who don’t want glasses. These thin discs sit directly on the wearer’s eyes, thus providing a much clearer vision.

There are various types of contact lenses available in the market today. They include:

  • Daily wear contact lenses
  • Extended-wear contact lenses
  • Daily disposable contact lenses

Contact lenses offer wearers a more natural vision. Unlike glass frames, lenses cannot block your view and they move with your eyes. Moreover, lenses don’t fog up or get wet when the weather gets worse.

Note that contact lenses are made from different materials and designs based on the needs of the patient. There are various specialty and standard contact lenses in the market. They include:

  • Toric lenses
  • Sclera lenses
  • Aspheric lenses
  • Multifocal lenses
  • Soft contact lenses
  • Rigid gas permeable lenses 

The Difference Between Contact Lens Prescriptions and Glasses Prescriptions is that

both glasses and contact lenses are designed to correct your vision. Their prescription, however, works differently. Your prescription is more than the corrective power of your lenses, and it takes various other factors into consideration.

Glasses Prescriptions

When given your glasses prescription, you’ll notice different numbers and abbreviations listed on it. There is the oculus sinister and the oculus dextus. These two represent your left and right eyes respectively and they have numbers listed underneath them.

The numbers represent the amount of vision correction that every eye needs. Note that the further away from zero, the worse your eyesight is. The numbers are in diopters, which is the unit measuring the focusing power of your contact lens.

A plus (+) or minus (-) sign is another feature on your prescription. The plus sign means that you’re farsighted while the minus sign is an indication that you’re nearsighted.

If you have a stigmatism, your prescription will feature three numbers. The numbers are in order of “S, C, and Axis,” and here is what the abbreviations mean:

  • Spherical (S) refers to the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness.
  • Cylinder (C) refers to the degree of astigmatism that you have, and it’s measured in diopters.
  • Axis refers to the orientation of your astigmatism, which is a number measured in degrees. 

Contact Lens Prescriptions

Contact lens prescriptions have various specifications that are meant to help your optometrist in effectively fitting your eyes. The result is that patients can then get a clearer vision with the prescription. Here are the variables in your lens prescription:

  • Base curve (BS) which is the curvature of the back surface of the contact lens. It helps to ensure that your contact lenses aren’t too loose or tight.
  • The diameter (DID) which refers to the specific size of the lens that you need. The DIA works with the base curve in determining your lens’s fit.
  • Lens brand or material. Lens prescriptions are required to have the lens brand or material. That’s because every lens material has a different level of oxygen permeability.
  • The expiration date. Contact lens prescriptions are usually valid for a year. After that, you’ll be required to go through a new examination to buy another set of contacts. 

What to Consider When Choosing Between Glasses and Lenses

A lot of people wear eye-glasses or contact lenses with the aim of improving their vision.

Some of the factors considered when choosing between the two are lifestyle, comfort, hobbies, and the cost. Contact lenses, for instance, may be easier to wear if you’re active as they do not fog up or fall off. The problem is that they can lead to infections. Glasses are a cheaper option, and they are easy to wear. The issue is that you can break or misplace them.

Alternatively, though it’s an expensive option, some people choose to alternate between glasses and lenses. This is advisable because it gives contact lenses users a break when they are unable to wear them. 

Final Take Away

Glasses and contact lenses help to improve the vision of the wearer, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Patients requiring either of the two may want to consider their budget, hobbies, and lifestyle before settling on one.

You must also note that a lot of brands and services are available to supply you with the most suitable option. This is based on the doctor’s prescription after an eye exam. You must also keep in mind that measurement processes are different when it comes to glasses and contact lenses. The prescription is also unique for each one of the items.

But if you’re not comfortable with either glasses or lenses, you may want to consider a more permanent surgical solution. You can go for a laser eye surgery or an implanted lens.


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