LASIK vs. Contacts vs. Glasses

Dr. Matthew Sharpe- Founder of SharpeVision

By Dr. Matthew R. Sharpe

February 28, 2022

Boy, this is an easy one! If you want the short version: I would choose LASIK every time given an option of LASIK vs. contacts vs. glasses. In fact, I did choose LASIK in 1998, and I’ve enjoyed clear uncorrected vision ever since. I had very thick (-8.00) glasses and contacts. I developed a contact lens intolerance when I was about 26 years old, and could never comfortably wear contacts again. For me, LASIK is a miracle, and I want to share that miracle with as many people as I can. However, let’s go through the thought process point-by-point comparing each option to each other option.

Glasses vs. Contacts

Contact lens vs. glasses has been a decision that many people have made for themselves over many years, and it’s not an easy decision. Both have their downsides. Fortunately there are now much better options where you can have a 3 minute per eye painless procedure (called LASIK or PRK) that can allow you to have perfect uncorrected vision without having to choose between glasses and contact lenses. If you must choose, there are potentially some reasons why you might want glasses.

The reasons for wearing glasses I think of are:

  1. Fashion: Pretty glasses have been dressing up people’s faces for decades, but there’s a big difference between wanting to have glasses and needing to have glasses.
  2. Eye protection: Definitely a must have for anyone working with power tools, chipping, shredding, hammering or weed-whacking. A lot of occupations and hobbies require eye protection, and this need won’t go away after LASIK vs. Contacts vs. PRK. Glasses protect you every second you have them on.
  3. Sunglasses keep off damaging ultraviolet radiation: see my blog post on sunglasses for a list of reasons why you should wear sunglasses.
  4. Bifocals: if you’re approaching or over 45 years old, you will start to have presbyopia, which is where near vision starts to become difficult when you have your glasses vs. contacts in your eyes. The loss of flexibility in the eye’s natural lens causes a reduced ability to see both distance and near objects without resorting to glasses for either near or distant objects, or both.
  5. Because this is what we’ve always done. (Not all reasons are good ones!) Sometimes I have patients say that they just keep wearing glasses because that’s what they’ve always done. I think this is a reasonable decision, but I believe it’s based in fear of the procedure. It’s something that you need to see to believe, and you can see procedures being done at our office every day. Please come in for your free comprehensive consultation to see if you are a candidate. We love what we do and are so happy to be able to help you get out of glasses and contacts!
  6. Some people think they look better in glasses: This may be true for some people. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go without glasses and see perfectly clearly if you wanted to? This is why glasses vs. contacts is an easy decision: I’d recommend LASIK!
  7. Fear: Fear is not to be underestimated. I think it’s without a doubt the biggest reason people don’t have LASIK. It’s understandable, but unfortunately it prevents a lot of people from having this life-changing procedure. I recommend you take a closer look by coming to see us if you want LASIK but are too worried.

Are contacts better than glasses?

Contact lenses, on the other hand, have few good qualities:

Here are the good reasons (it’s hard to find any!) to wear contact lenses (it’s a short list!):

  1. Contacts can enhance your eye color (see blog post about colored contacts
  2. You can wear multifocal contacts, although very few people seem to enjoy these. They tend to decrease the quality of vision by creating glare/halos/starbursts. They are exclusively reserved for people over 45 years old who need reading glasses. There is no perfect solution to reading glasses currently, but the time will come in the next few years where we will have eyedrops that allow us to help with near vision without decreasing the distance vision.
  3. Currently we can prescribe contacts for monovision where one eye is better for near and one is better for distance. This works pretty well for most people. One of the advantages to contact lenses is they can be adjusted as needed as we get older and need slightly more near vision. Typically the amount of near vision required is equal to +1.5 power reading glasses. This will allow good near vision for things like your phone, computer, and food. I always recommend trying contact lenses with monovision for my patients who are over 45 years old, so that they can see what the LASIK would be like afterward without glasses. Note: it’s always better without glasses vs. contacts!

Contacts vs. Glasses cost:

Contacts are WAY more expensive than glasses, which are more expensive than LASIK. To get a better idea of the long term cost of wearing glasses and contacts, try out our pricing calculator.

The savings is huge, but that’s not even the best part. The best part is that YOU WON’T NEED GLASSES OR CONTACTS! If you do wear contacts the majority of the time, I strongly recommend that you have glasses also. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for the health of your eyes that you have a pair of glasses to allow your eyes some rest from having the contacts on your eyes all waking hours. It’s much safer to have backup glasses, which add to the costs. This is part of why LASIK makes so much sense.

Contacts vs. LASIK

LASIK vs Contacts is also an easy choice for the well-informed. Let me just list the top twelve reasons (there are lots more!):

  1. LASIK vs. Contact lenses is two completely different choices. I’d think the biggest reason when choosing LASIK or contacts is that with LASIK you don’t have to put in contacts.
  2. You don’t have to take out contacts at the end of the day.
  3. You don’t have to buy contacts.
  4. You don’t have to pack contacts when you travel.
  5. You don’t have to worry about running out of contacts.
  6. You don’t have to buy contact lens solution.
  7. You don’t have tired, painful, and irritated eyes with LASIK.
  8. YOU have much less risk of a serious eye infection when you have LASIK.
  9. You can hike, bike, run, love, and live without ever thinking about contact lenses again. How great is that alone for having LASIK?!
  10. Having LASIK vs. contacts is basically a question of fear about the procedure, and there’s no reason to fear it. I’d encourage anyone who’s afraid of having LASIK to come in and have the free comprehensive exam. We typically perform LASIK and PRK procedures on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and allow people to observe the procedures live (with patients’ permission of course) so you can see how quick and easy it is. Often patients will comment to observers how surprisingly easy it is and how happy there are to have it done.
  11. Our patients generally feel more comfortable after the procedure because they no longer have contact lenses irritating their eyes. It’s hard to believe how much better they’ll feel if you’ve become contact lens intolerant. We get that a lot- when people no longer can comfortably wear their contacts. I can’t even tell you how many of my patients say that they can only wear their contact lenses for an hour or two and their eyes get red, irritated and painful. This is for the most part due to a condition called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis, which is an allergy to the contact lens material. It starts to present in young people and is almost always misdiagnosed as dry eyes, but it’s actually not dryness but an allergy. It’s fairly easy to diagnose if you know what you’re looking for.
  12. There is simply no way you can even compare the wearing of contact lenses to having LASIK. LASIK or Contact Lenses: I choose LASIK every time. The comfort, ease, safety, financial benefits, and lifestyle benefits of LASIK far far outweigh the decision to wear contact lenses.

LASIK vs. Glasses

Glasses vs. LASIK is another “no-brainer”! Let’s just go through some more reasons to have LASIK vs. glasses wear.

  1. Glasses fog up. Haven’t we seen enough of that with the Covid pandemic? The moist air that comes out of your lungs is directed straight up onto your glasses which fogs them up. It’s an endless difficulty where you take your mask off or your glasses off but you can’t have them both on at the same time and see clearly. Many of our patients have experienced this in the past year and have come to SharpeVision to have their lives changed. Although the pandemic has been so horrible in so many ways, it has pushed some people to have this life-changing procedure and will continue long after the pandemic has passed.
  2. Glasses break, they wear out, get scratched, get smudged, get bent out of shape, and hurt our ears. They fall off when we least expect or need it. Glasses couldn’t be a more obtrusive impediment to seeing our world clearly. Glasses are not natural and have not been needed nearly as much as in the past. A combination of being on screen and indoors and more near work have made nearsightedness a true expanding epidemic. The Chinese government has vowed to study and improve the percentage of people who need glasses. Some 80% of people in China are nearsighted. There’s no longer a reason to tolerate the ‘pain in the ears’ that glasses are. We have LASIK! We have excellent technology, experience and results that make LASIK and PRK, not to mention ICL, RLE, and IOL all great techniques to allow people to live a freedom that they only dreamed about a generation ago.
  3. Is the above enough of a reason to quit waiting? So many of my patients wait a decade or more to enjoy what they could have now, and have freedom.  Schedule your free comprehensive consultation on our website and get your LASIK freedom!
Dr. Matthew Sharpe- Founder of SharpeVision

Dr. Matthew R. Sharpe

Dr. Matthew Sharpe is an Ophthalmologist specializing in refractive surgery and the owner SharpeVision MODERN LASIK & LENS, with offices in Seattle, Austin, and Chicago. Dr. Sharpe is a world traveler, pianist, marathon runner, motorcyclist, and fluent French speaker. He enjoys every second of life, but finds he is happiest at home cheering on The Ohio State Buckeyes with his wife, three children, and four dogs.
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