If you need vision correction, how do you choose the best option for your needs? It depends on individual preference of course: some people may feel self-conscious about wearing glasses; others dislike the idea of wearing contacts, and can't imagine putting a lens directly onto their eyeball.

Yet big advances in glasses and lens technology make both far more attractive options today. “Most optometrists would recommend that you should start with glasses if it is your first prescription,” says optometrist Gail Steele, Director of Auerbach and Steele, the London-based optical and eyewear store. “The baseline is that everyone who needs vision correction should have a pair of spectacles because contact lenses are fantastic, but nobody should be wearing them 24/7.”

 

Advanced frame technology

Frame technology has advanced so much that there are now glasses for every occasion, from rimless lightweight and sport wraparound to fashion frames. “There is no need to be embarrassed about wearing glasses anymore,” says Steele.

“Lots of our customers really embrace it and have an 'optical wardrobe'.” Why spend thousands on a bag, she asks, and only have one pair of glasses?

There have also been huge improvements in lenses for spectacles, too. When Steele first started in practice, any lens above a moderate prescription was thick and ugly. Now, however, a variety of materials are available — and those with a higher refractive index ensure greater power in a much thinner lens. Reflection-free coating is also available.

“There is no need to be embarrassed about wearing glasses anymore,” says Steele.

Contact lenses may be more convenient if you play a lot of sport, but they do have other benefits. “Depending on your prescription, you can often have sharper, clearer vision — and a wider field of vision — because the lens is on the eye,” says Steele. “One eye can be fitted for distance and one for reading; and multifocal contact lenses are also available. Manufacturers are moving to more sophisticated lens materials — mainly silicone hydrogel, which gives higher oxygen transmission to maintain better corneal health.”

The advice: discuss the best solution for you with your optometrist.