Disadvantages of contact lenses

In this section we discuss the disadvantages of wearing contact lenses. They are a popular corrective device for less than perfect eyesight, e.g. short sightedness, but there are a few disadvantages as well.

If you have been informed that you need to wear some form of visual aid such as glasses or contact lenses then the decision is usually one of personal preference and lifestyle.

Everyone is different with differing needs and requirements so think carefully through the options. Talk to your optician about these options and which may be more suitable for you.

There are pros and cons with both glasses and contact lenses. None of these are 100% perfect so it is a case of deciding which is likely to suit you best.

The advantages of contact lenses are discussed in separate section.

The risks of wearing contact lenses

It is only fair that you are apprised of the downsides of wearing contact lenses. These include:

  • Take time to become accustomed to
  • Easily lost
  • Fragile and prone to tearing
  • Fiddly to handle
  • Can be more expensive than glasses
  • Require ongoing maintenance
  • Build up of dust and debris
  • Degrade in quality over time
  • Risk of eye infections
  • Risk of scratches

Take time to become accustomed to

It does take time to get used to putting contact lenses into your eyes and taking them out again. Your optician will show you how to do this but there are people who find this awkward and fiddly to do.

Plus some people dislike the idea of touching their eyeball.

Easily lost

Contact lenses have improved in design which means they are less likely to fall out and become lost. But this does happen in certain situations. One example is windy weather where the lens can pop out of your eye. Plus contact lenses can develop a small rip or tear in half which is extremely uncomfortable. It was not uncommon to see someone on their hands and knees on the floor looking for their missing contact lens.

Fragile and prone to tearing

This applies to the soft contact lenses. Their softness is ideal in terms of comfort but the downside is that they are prone to rips or tearing.

If this happens on several occasions then it may mean purchasing replacement lenses which can be expensive.

Fiddly to handle

Contact lenses are tiny things which can be easily damaged or lost. It takes a fair amount of practice to become used to balancing the lens on the end of a finger and then placing it into your eye without dropping or losing the lens.

Some people adapt quickly to this but others find it awkward and never become familiar with this. This can put certain people off from wearing lenses.

Can be more expensive than glasses

A pair of glasses is expensive but will last for several years which are economical in the long term. But many types of contact lenses have a limited shelf life which means replacement lenses on a regular basis.

Plus you pay more for convenience. The daily disposable lenses are very popular due to this reason but can be the most expensive.

If you have the extended or continuous wear lenses then you will need to purchase cleaning solutions to help care for your lenses. The costs of these plus the lenses can soon mount up.

Require ongoing maintenance

Apart from the daily disposable lenses, the daily wear and other types need to be cleaned and soaked in solution. This means adopting a routine in which you remove the lenses last thing at night, soak them and then put them in after you get up in the morning.

The routine is clean, rinse and disinfect and it can be cumbersome and easy to forget. Plus it also means having to buy cleaning solutions on a constant basis.

Build up of dust and debris

A common problem with contact lenses is their ability to trap dust, debris and other substances underneath the lens which forces these into the eye.

These substances build up over time which can lead to a scratch or other damage to the cornea and eye infections.

Degrade in quality over time

Contact lenses start to deteriorate over time. Protein deposits build up on the lens plus the lens itself is at risk of damage such as scratches or tears.

They start to show their age after a period of time and become less effective at correcting your vision.

Conversely, a pair of glasses retains its quality and effectiveness. The only change is in your eyesight and not the glasses themselves.

Risk of eye infections

There is a higher risk of eye infections in contact lens wearers. The reason for this is that dust particles, germs and bacteria are able to enter the eye where they become trapped under the lens.

The lens traps them against the eye where they are able to cause an infection or damage part of the eye, for example the cornea. The most common eye infection in contact lens wearers is conjunctivitis.

Risk of scratches

There is a risk of the lens causing a scratch on the cornea which occurs with badly fitting lenses. This is also caused by wearing contact lenses while you are sleeping and not taking care when inserting or removing them.

A scratch can happen if a particle of dust or debris becomes trapped under the lens.

These are issues to be aware of when considering whether to wear contact lenses or not. If you already wear glasses and are tempted to make the switch then think about the benefits and risks before doing so.

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