Eyeglasses and contacts both correct vision, but there are differences. Contacts require touching the eye. Eyeglasses require less cleaning and maintenance. People who have dry eye syndrome may not be able to wear contacts, which can make the condition worse. Contacts take more time to clean, insert and store properly. Glasses provide some protection from the wind, sun, and dust. Glasses can also provide a fashion statement! In many cases, the choice of contacts or glasses is more a matter of personal preference than anything else.
In most cases, eyeglasses will last at least a year and sometimes longer. The key is whether visual changes have occurred. Some conditions become worse over time; teens who are nearsighted, for example, may become more nearsighted as they get older. Middle-aged adults are likely to have visual changes that cause increasing far-sightedness, and sometimes those changes progress quite rapidly. Cataracts, eye surgery or diabetes can all cause visual changes that require a new eyeglass prescription.
Eyeglasses have different lenses to correct different eye problems. Bifocals are split into an upper section for distance and lower section for near vision. Trifocals add one more section for things in the middle of the range. Progressive lenses gradually change, rather than having an abrupt change between near and distance correction. Lenses may be made of glass or plastic, and may vary in thickness or be tinted and/or scratch-resistant. Glass lenses tend to be heavier than plastic and break more easily; they are less commonly used than plastic lenses today. However, glass lenses don't scratch as easily as plastic does. Polycarbonate and high-index plastic lenses are also available. The first is very impact resistant, while the latter are thinner and lighter than other plastic lenses.
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