Refractive eye errors are one of the most prevalent conditions, affecting billions of people worldwide. Estimates show that over 2 billion people suffer from short sightedness and another 2 billion suffer from farsightedness. That’s a lot of people that need corrective eye procedures. As it stands, the three main ways of correcting refractive errors are glasses, contact lenses, and laser surgery. But each of these is vastly different from the other, so which one is right for you? Read on to find out.
How each works
The basic principle of a refractive error in the eyes is that light bends and hits the retina (nerve cells that perceive light) at too short a distance or too long a distance. So correcting this requires bending the light again so that it hits the retina at the correct spot.
Glasses and contact lenses work similarly in that they just provide another layer that is able to bend the light in a particular direction and correct for the distance that is caused by an abnormal shape of the eye. The only major difference is that glasses sit further away from the eyes and contact lenses are put directly on them.
Laser surgery is a bit different in the way that it actually corrects the natural shape of the eye using high-powered energy.
If you choose to wear glasses, you essentially need to update your prescription yearly or once every two years. The results are different for each person. Some people stay on the same prescription for years but still need to be tested at the intervals mentioned above. Since glasses cost a few hundred dollars, this is essentially the price you are in for each year or every two years.
Most pairs of contacts last at maximum one month, and need to be replaced as often. The yearly cost of 12 pairs of contact lenses is roughly the same as for a new pair of glasses. Contact lenses however also need a cleaning solution that needs to be replaced monthly. Generally, this works out slightly more expensive than wearing glasses.
Laser eye surgery on the other hand is very expensive upfront but lasts a good number of years and sometimes even over decades.
Which suits your personality?
What you wear says a lot about your personality. Do you like to have several funky pairs of glasses to go with different kinds of outfits or do you feel that glasses simply don’t match your face? Do you prefer the nerdy or classy look that comes with glasses, or is that look just not for you?
Glasses tend to be better for indoor types of people who don’t spend much of their time doing physical activities like running or swimming. Since owning several pairs of glasses can become quite expensive, glasses are also suited for people who don’t like to change their style too radically.
Contact lenses on the other hand are better suited to people who enjoy physical activities because it becomes too cumbersome to try and run or swim with glasses. Since they’re not visible to other people, contact lenses also go with any outfit. If you like to change your style often, you can even get different colored contact lenses that change the color of your eyes.
Laser surgery is for people who are amenable to contact lenses but don’t like to spend much time getting ready in the morning or who cannot stand trying to take something out of their eyes.
In the end, it is obviously a very personal choice, and it is definitely a good idea to discuss this with your optometrist or ophthalmologist and find out which option is best for you based on your lifestyle, personality, and finances.