Individuals with vision problems turn to corrective lenses or contacts to deliver improved sight. Glasses have comes a long way from the spectacles of old and are making fashion statements as they deliver 20/20 vision, but contact lenses have added another option for those who need corrective eyewear. Perfect vision, for many, means making a choice between the two. Here is a guide comparing glasses against contacts, as well as how to purchase prescription glasses online.

What You Should Know About Glasses

Before you head off to buy a new pair of glasses, a visit to the eye doctor will tell you what kind of vision correction you need. You will receive a prescription for eyeglasses, which you take with you to an optician. You are also able to submit the prescription digitally and order a pair online. There are several lens options with prescription glasses, and these correspond to the type of correction needed with your sight.

Single Vision

This is the cheapest and most common type of lenses. The intent is to correct vision for a single distance, either near or far, depending on your eyesight. For those with astigmatism or who are nearsighted or farsighted, these lenses will most likely be your prescription.


The prefix in bifocals indicates that these lenses have two different corrective powers. There are different sections within the lens that will correct trouble with near visions or distance visions. People who have nearsightedness and age-related farsightedness may find corrective assistance with a pair of bifocals. Some individuals find the line separating between the fields of vision frustrating and inconvenient.


A pair of trifocals has all of the corrective powers as a pair of bifocals, but an additional layer is included that corrects intermediate vision. Middle distances, such as the ability to view a computer screen or read sheet music while playing an instrument, can be accurately seen through trifocals. As with bifocals, the lenses have a noticeable division between fields of correction that may take some getting used to. However, development in lenses has led to an advanced form called progressives.


Those who wear bifocals or trifocals will find progressive lenses have the same corrective purpose in instances of near, distance or intermediate vision, but there is no distracting line between each field. Many wearers feel that these lenses make it easier to transition more smoothly between sight areas, but the overall field of vision is greatly reduced in these lenses. This is one reason that many would choose to stay with traditional bifocals or trifocals when selecting a pair of prescription reading glasses.

Digital Protection

Computer glasses, able to be ordered as prescription blue light glasses or as an over-the-counter non-prescription pair, are increasing in popularity, especially among the millennials. Adults are spending more time each day in front of digital devices, such as tablets, computers and smartphones, and the long-term effects of such exposure include eyestrain, dry eyes, blurry vision, cataracts and macular degeneration.

What You Should Know About Lens Materials

In addition to choosing between prescription and non-prescription lenses, there are different materials used to craft the lenses themselves. Many people select a material based on their lifestyle and activity level, but an optometrist can also provide insight into which material will be best.

Glass Lenses

The major downfalls with glass lenses deal with safety and concerns. Visually, glass is excellent for sharpness and clarity, but it can be very heavy and can shatter and crack very easily. Even though it is possible to still order glass lenses, many manufactures and wearers have switched to more durable plastic lenses.

Plastic Lenses

You can use plastic instead of glass and get a similar result with clarity and sharpness, but you also get the added benefits of a more safe, lightweight and affordable product. There are also several variations with plastic lenses.

  1. High-index plastic lenses: Before technology improved the ability to craft stylish frames and plastic lenses, a strong prescription requirement meant bulky, thick lenses that were heavy and uncomfortable. High-index lenses, through a higher refractive index (or the ability of the lens to bend light as it moves through the lens), are able to adjust the focal point for sharpness and clarity with a lens that is thinner and lighter weight than conventional lenses.
  2. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses: For lenses that are extremely durable, polycarbonate and Trivex options are available. These are lightweight and impact-resistant, making them a preferred choice in sports goggles, safety glasses and children`s glasses. Trivex lenses are not as thin as high-index lenses, but the safety rating makes them a candidate for high-risk environments.

What You Should Know About Contact Lenses

For people who don`t like the look of glasses or the upkeep required, contact lenses are a corrective solution. Millions of individuals use contact lenses to maintain their active lifestyle without the hassle of keeping glasses on their faces. It is a more freeing experience that doesn`t compromise on clarity and sharpness. Contact lenses are made from thin pieces of plastic that are placed directly on the eye in order to correct vision problems.

Not everyone is able to wear contacts. Your vision exam may show that you need corrective lenses, but it takes a contact lens exam in order to fit you for contacts and determine if your eye will be healthy enough to wear the contacts. In the exam, your eyes are carefully measures, as contacts come in different sizes. If the measurements are off, it will be difficult for the pair of contact to be comfortable to wear, but it will also skew the ability of the lenses to correct your vision. You will also be taught how to safely insert the contacts and take them out.

Daily Wear Lenses

When it comes to wearing contacts, most should not be worn during the night. Daily wear lenses are for normal daily use, as the prescription addresses your specific eye condition. These lenses can generally be used for between two weeks to a month before needing to be replaced. These can be cleaned once removed from the eye, and the materials of the lens resist absorbing the particles it encounters throughout the day.

Daily Disposables

In contrast with daily wear, daily disposable lenses are meant for one-time use only. These lenses have not been designed to remain resistant to bacteria, germs and other buildup, but they are often thinner and more lightweight than daily wear. Increasing the amount of cleaning will only further break down the lens and creates the risk of having the lens deteriorate while being worn.

Extended Wear Lenses

With extended wear lenses, a user can leave the contacts in overnight or for continuous wear. These are softer lenses made of flexible materials that allow oxygen to move through and reach the cornea. Some types can be worn for up to a week without needing to be removed and up to 30 days. The eyes do need one night of rest between scheduled removal, and your optometrist will make sure your eyes can tolerate extended wear.

Comparing Glasses and Contacts

In addition to how glasses change one’s appearance, glasses are also much easier to maintain than contacts. Both vision instruments can get lost or broken, depending on the materials, but the cost of glasses is usually much cheaper than contacts. A user can also experience discomfort, such as dry eyes when wearing contacts. Both lenses need to be cleaned, but glasses can be wiped clean with a soft cloth while contact lenses require a special solution for soaking. Glasses also last longer than contacts, but it is more convenient to wear contacts with a highly active lifestyle or under safety glasses.

Shop Prescription Glasses


What Kind of Glasses Can Be Ordered Online?

As long as you have your prescription, you can submit the information for inclusion in safety glasses, prescription sunglasses, reading glasses or everyday use glasses. Online ordering doesn’t allow you to test run the look of the frames, but the quality and clarity of the lenses is what you would find when purchasing in-store.

Who Needs Blue Light Glasses?

Recommendations for blue light glasses are based on the amount of exposure you face every day. You wouldn’t need a pair if you worked in construction or another skilled position, as these glasses are designed to shield the eyes from the blue light emitted from digital screens. They help reduce glare and damage to the cornea.

Is It True That Contacts Cause Eye Infections?

The risk of an eye infection from contacts depends on how well you maintain your contacts. Debris and dust can get trapped on the lenses, leading to eye irritation and potentially infection if left unaddressed. Many people prefer glasses because there is little risk of eye damage or harm.

What Kind of Lenses Should Kids Order?

The active lifestyle and forgetfulness of youth require a tough lens that can stand up to some grueling conditions. Though athletes may select contacts for an active lifestyle, these are not recommended for use in children. Youth glasses should be made from Trivex or polycarbonate due to the scratch and impact resistance.

Can You Get Prescriptions Included in Safety Glasses?

Yes! For those who require ANSI-rated safety eyewear, it is possible to have a pair fitted with prescription lenses. The process is the same as another pair of glasses, where you choose the style and frame that fits your preference, and the lenses will be crafted to include your prescription. This is a great way to stay safe while on the job.

Shopping for Prescription Glasses Online

When you are looking for the best selection of prescription glasses online, shop with Marvel Optics. Rated as the number one online prescription eyeglass store, you are sure to find a pair for everyone in your family who needs one.

Comparing Contacts vs Glasses