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Eyeglasses versus Contacts for College Students

As a college student, you’ve got plenty of things on your mind besides purchasing and maintaining proper eye wear.  Between exams, research projects, a part-time job and your blossoming social calendar, choosing between eyeglasses and contacts might seem like the lowest priority on your already-full “To Do” list.

But don’t allow these other concerns to prevent you from making important choices about your eye wear.  Protecting your vision is vitally important at a young age – not to mention how important it is that you be able to see the material being presented in your classes!

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the relative pros and cons between eyeglasses and contact lenses:

First up, eyeglasses.  Although many wearers express frustration with ill-fitting eyeglasses or the limited range of vision this type of eye wear allows for, glasses actually have a number of different advantages for college students.  Not only are they frequently cheaper than a year’s supply of contact lenses and cleaning supplies (assuming you aren’t purchasing top-of-the-line designer frames), they’re less likely to dry your eyes out and become uncomfortable following hours of intense studying and computer usage.
As an added bonus, eyeglasses can give you that deep, studious look that plenty of college students find attractive in the opposite sex!

Of course, contact lenses have their own pros and cons.  Though they require more maintenance in the form of cleaning, storing and replacing, they provide wearers extra flexibility in terms of the number of activities that can be completed while wearing them.  For college students on the go, the ability to transition effortlessly between classes and physical activities – not to mention between darkly-lit classrooms and inclement weather outdoors – makes contact lenses a much more wearable option.

So, with all these different advantages and disadvantages in mind, how can you decide between eyeglasses and contact lenses?  Ask yourself the following questions:

Question #1 – What does my insurance cover?

If you’re on your parents’ insurance (or if you hold a student policy of your own), you may find that the types of eye wear you’re eligible to purchase – as well as the specific benefits you’ll receive for eye wear purchases – may make the decision between eyeglasses and contact lenses for you.  Some plans may only cover one option, while other plans may limit your reimbursement benefits to the point where one eye wear option will result in significantly higher out-of-pocket costs.

Whether or not you have an insurance plan that covers eye wear, be sure to get a complete estimate for any potential eye wear costs, including any special contact lens fitting appointments or storage supplies you’ll need to maintain your lenses.

Question #2 – What type of activities do I engage in?

If you’re an extremely active person, contact lenses may simply be a better option for you.  Whether you participate in intramural sports, dance classes or frequent gym workouts, keeping a pair of sweaty glasses on your face may make the tradeoffs found in a good pair of contact lenses worth the disadvantages this type of eye wear presents.
On the other hand, if your activities are more studious in nature, eyeglasses may be a better option for you.  Spending hours reading the small print in textbooks or staring at the pages of a computer-based Word document can dry out your eyes, making contact lenses a more uncomfortable option overall.

Question #3 – How much time am I willing to put into eye wear care?

Finally, keep in mind that contact lenses require ongoing care and maintenance in order to remain a healthy, viable option for vision care.  Contact lenses must be removed regularly, cleaned thoroughly and replaced frequently in order to prevent nasty infections from occurring.  Ignoring these recommended procedures can put your vision in serious danger, making eyeglasses a better option for those who aren’t able to commit to routine eye wear management.

Obviously, there’s no clear cut answer as to whether eyeglasses or contact lenses will be a better option for your vision care needs.  However, by taking the time to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option – as well as how your personal needs and behaviors factor into this decision – you’ll be more likely to wind up with the eye care solution that’s right for your situation.

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