What to wear: a pair of glasses or contacts?

by Yvana van den Hork

A short while ago, yours truly went back to wearing eye glasses after having worn contacts for over 30 years. My eyes had 'run dry' and as a result an inflammation snuck in, causing an inability to wear (hard) contacts. Despite having worn glasses as a kid and young adult, it took me longer to adapt to them than expected. This has much to do with the fact I now need two pairs of glasses: one for reading and another one for further away. With two pairs it seems as if you are always wearing the wrong pair and.. where did I put them down again?

As it goes, you start to watch other people wearing glasses. Contrary to how it used to be, wearing glasses now is mostly a voluntary choice and if you do have them, they can be a fashion statement. Going back to wearing glasses made me think again about the pros and cons of glasses versus contacts.

To start with the most obvious part, the costs. When you don't buy an expensive brand, eye glasses are cheaper than contacts. Hard contacts will last you a few years when you treat them with care and don't lose them, but soft contacts need to be replaced at least every few weeks, which can be costly when your prescription isn't a common one. You will also need to put aside a fair amount of money for cleaning and conservation liquids.

For athletes, choosing contacts is mostly a no-brainer, because contacts offer the best all around view, will not get fogged up from sweat or wet from rain, nor damaged as easily.
But when you spend a considerable amount of time in a very dusty and dirty environment, you may want to forgo contacts, as you will not be able to remove them in a safe and hygienic way. As we age, we will be bothered more by dry eyes, which is when especially wearing hard contacts can become too uncomfortable.

When you have (grand) children and would like to see them grow up without needing eye glasses, make sure they spend a lot of time outside.
Contrary to what was thought, the amount of time a child spends reading books or doing home work does not predict whether they will need glasses or not, even though it seems to have a direct correlation.
Instead, the amount of time they spend (playing or even reading) outside is the biggest determinator of near-sightedness. Apparently children's eyes need direct exposure to sunlight, especially UV-B rays in order to make enough vitamin D. It is thought children need to spend at least 3 hours outside in broad daylight.
Being able to spend a lot of time outside, may be one of the reasons why this particular Kindergarten in Japan is so cool! Not just small children should spend more time playing, this is true for adults too.
Apparently, especially memorizing tasks get easier when this task is followed by a break, which involves physical exercise. When this is done outside, it may even result in not needing glasses until the late 40s when nearly everyone needs them.
Even when you are over 40, you don't need to despair. There seem to be methods which allow you to improve your eyesight naturally, such as the Bates method. On this particular website, you can read about a few of the simpler methods that can be used.

Of course, make sure to eat a varied diet with enough foods promoting good eyesight. This past week, it was revealed a young Australian boy nearly went blind because of his extremely poor diet, shunning not just all veggies but also other regular food, while subsisting on nothing but junkfood without even an added multivitamin.
This is deeply tragic, not just because his parents had visited several doctors before meeting an expert, who recognized the symptoms from past experience in Africa, where blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is quite common.
It's also tragic because vitamin A deficiency is so easy to prevent with carotenoid rich vegetables (with added fats for better absorption) or fat sources like butter, full-fat dairy products, liver(wurst), eggs and fatty fish.

Vitamin A deficiency doesn't just cause (night)blindness, but can also cause respiratory infections, gastro-enteritis, stunted growth as well as weaker bones. Whomever despairs over kids refusing to eat vegetables: hide them in smoothies, pureed soups and rich (pasta) sauces!
Nearly every magazine devoted to parenting will have articles devoted to this very topic as every baby initially has a healthy distrust of new foods. It is a true art of balancing between giving it just often enough and forcing it upon them, which makes them resentful and stubborn. You may even succeed in making adults like vegetables!

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