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Glasses or contacts?
David M. Russell, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 9:51 AM on 08.26.07
->> My glasses are about shot. Time for a new pair, but maybe I should consider contacts instead (I've never used them before)?

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Andrew Dolph, Photographer
Medina | OH | USA | Posted: 10:18 AM on 08.26.07
->> David,

I've been pondering a similar issue, especially as the contact lens technology has been rapidly progressing. As someone with a severe astigmatism, in years past contact lenses were simply not an option. Even four years ago I couldn't find a pair that would stay firmly planted on my eye. Instead, they would spin around and get lost behind my eye ball. (Not fun, by the way.)

More importantly, operating a camera with glasses on drives me crazy, especially when working in adverse weather conditions. With the wacky weather in Ohio, the humidity has posed a real challenge. Friday night at one of our local high school's opening game, the on-turf temperature at 6:45pm was 124 degrees farenheit! I had to take off my glasses and essentially shoot blind for the first quarter until the sun finally dropped behind the trees and it cooled off — slightly.

So, I've promised myself that with the next pay period, I will look into contact lenses, no pun intended. It's time. I'm thinking also that perhaps the quality of my vision will also improve as the optical elements that aid in vision restoration are actually on the eye, as opposed to centimeters away. Although I'm not really aware of any scientific evidence to support this, it seems plausible.

Finally, I think there's three primary issues that I can conceivably overcome if I make the switch to contacts:

1) No more scratching of the lenses, therefore improving overall quality of vision.

2) Greater confidence when approaching adverse shooting conditions.

3) A wider selection of sunglasses. ; )

Hope this helps, David. I would be interested to hear of anyone else's concerns.

— Andrew
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 10:55 AM on 08.26.07
->> Get the contacts! Andrew I too have a astigmatism. The new breed of contacts are great. They're made to be bottom heavy and a few blinks causes the 'heavy' side to orient down and thus they are self aligning. I sleep with mine in (not supposed to) on occasion and have never had any problems. I love not having fogged glasses in the winter, or having to wipe drizzle off of my glasses at a football game in the rain. I could never consider going back.
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Andrew Smith, Photographer
Ross-shire | UK | Scotland | Posted: 11:54 AM on 08.26.07
->> I've used dailies and monthlies and I'd say they're 'okay' but I've gone back to wearing glasses.

With dailies you need to build an extra 10-20 minutes into your schedule to put them in and take them out.

Monthlies would feel fine for an hour, a day, a week, random lengths of time, and then they'd feel like they were in wrong so I'd need to take them out and put them in again, defeating the point of using monthlies.

For the first couple of weeks of using contacts I was happy to not be wearing my glasses anymore. But I would always look forward to the relief of taking the contacts out and putting my glasses back on to give my eyes a rest.

Eventually I decided to stick with glasses full-time.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 12:19 PM on 08.26.07
->> With dailies you need to build an extra 10-20 minutes into your schedule to put them in and take them out.

How on earth does it take that long to put in contacts? Do you use assistants or something? :-) It takes me all of a minute to pop mine in and out - including washing hands and cleaning the lens.

I have an extended-wear disposable contact (I only wear one) that I treat like dailies...taking them out every night - based on the advice of my eye doctor. If you wear extended wear contacts for weeks there is a higher risk for problems (various infections, etc). Taking them out regularly avoids those problems.

They work great and I get about a month and a half out of them before replacement. The nice thing about the disposables is they're very don't even notice them when they're in.
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Melissa Wade, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 12:25 PM on 08.26.07
->> Is your eyesight getting worse? If so, get gas-permeable ("hard") lenses. Hard lenses reshape your eye to the correct shape and slow down eyesight loss while soft conform to your misshapped eyes and do not slow down loss anymore than glasses do.
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Tom Ewart, Photographer
Bentonville | AR | USA | Posted: 12:44 PM on 08.26.07
->> Don't know if you are canidate for Lasic Surgery or not, I had it about 5 years ago, and it was the best thing I could have done. No more outlay of money or misplaced glasses or lost contacts.
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Brian Mount, Student/Intern
Simi Valley | CA | USA | Posted: 1:00 PM on 08.26.07
->> I've been fighting with this issue also for the past 4 years. I've shot with both contacts and glasses. I prefer the the contact by far. I too have a very bad astigmatism but I found that the soft contact lenses work pretty well. I hate shooting with glasses because I can't seem to see through the eye piece fully. I haven't been able to get a new pair of contacts but I found if you use the dial on the side of the eye piece and rotate that until everything comes into focus, that also works well while shooting blind. I am with Andrew on the issue of time you have to build into your schedule to put in and take our the lenses, but if your shooting in bad weather contacts are the way to go, unless somehow they build a pair of glasses with window wipers on them. The only reason why I sometimes shoot blind is that I don't feel like sticking my finger in my eye early in the morning.
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Blaine McCartney, Photographer
Columbus | NE | USA | Posted: 1:12 PM on 08.26.07
->> David,
I got contacts a few years ago and I've never looked back. It only takes a second or two (once you get the hang of it) to put them in and take them out.
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David Eulitt, Photographer
Kansas City | MO | USA | Posted: 1:15 PM on 08.26.07
->> Gas-permeable contacts take a little getting used to, but I find them much sharper than my glasses, plus no rain, fogging or lens-scratching issues.
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Mike McKinney, Photographer
Albuquerque | NM | USA | Posted: 1:35 PM on 08.26.07
->> Well, I wore contacts for 13 years and never regretted them. I'm in the military and have put them to the test in some extreme environments and they never gave me a problem. That's not the case for everyone but I could not imagine wearing glasses for some of those conditions. The best part, especially if you're athletic, is that you can actually buy and wear any type of sunglasses you want, for me a huge benefit.

For the past three weeks I've had to go back to glasses because I'm preparing for corrective surgery to hopefully do away with both forever and it's killing me!! I realize now why I've hated wearing my glasses when I did. I can't wait to get the surgery and be done. If you are a candidate for surgery, I'd say get it done as soon as able, if not, then contacts are the way to go IMHO. I never thought I could stick my finger up to my eyes but I don't even flinch now.
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Drew Hallowell, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 2:34 PM on 08.26.07
->> I had worn contacts since grade school and had many corneal abrasions and ulcers, so if you get the contacts DO NOT SLEEP WITH THEM IN YOUR EYES. It does not matter if they tell you it is ok. Any good eye surgeon will tell you that is a bad idea. I wore disposables for the last 10 years on days that I worked and glasses on the days I was off. Every thing was ok, but you must keep them clean and it can get expensive.

Two months ago I had to get new contacts and glasses, plus my eye exam, so I looked into LASIK surgery. My eyes have not changed in years, so I opted to spend the $3700 on the surgery which is slightly less than what I would have spent on glasses, contacts and exams in the next 5 years.

The surgery was painless and I could see 20/20 the next morning. I was able to work that afternoon. It is worth EVERY penny.
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Craig Dilger, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 3:05 PM on 08.26.07
->> I wear glasses everyday and shoot in them. I only find them to be a problem when I am shooting bad weather. I generally find contacts uncomfortable and feel dried out in couple of hours of use so I only use them for extreme assignments or athletic events.

My biggest problem is the fear of breaking/losing my glasses or contacts and being caught blind with a long drive home with countless obstacles like blurry traffic lights and illegible signs.

I went and got checked out as a candidate for lasik, I am a great candidate in every way but finances. So at this point I am going to stick with glasses and save the money that I would be spending on contacts for a future lasik appointment.
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Rodrigo Pena, Photographer
Palm Desert | CA | USA | Posted: 3:39 PM on 08.26.07
->> David, contacts are wonderful! It may take you a bit to get used to them, but you will not be disappointed if you don't have dry eyes. I've been wearing contact lenses since I was 11 years old. I'm now 41. Drew is right on target. You can have many problems if you don't take care of your contacts and your eyes. When I was in High School I develped cornea abrasion and had to stop wearing my hard contact lenses. I switched to soft. I've been wearing all kinds of different soft contact lenses. Lately the gas permeable work the best for me. Unfortnately I'm at the age where reading glasses start to be a necessity. I can't even see the back of my camera without reading glasses. Since I'm nearsighted, at this moment in my life, I prefer glasses. I can just take my regular glasses off to see the settings on my camera or the images that I shoot. Last year, after wearing contacts for nearly 30 years, I started developing problems with my eyes. My eyes felt like I had an eyelash in them. So I took a year off. When I came back to my contacts, I had problems reading. I bought reading glasses, but started getting headaches. So for now, I'm wearing glasses. No headaches and no reading glasses.

The information that Drew mentioned about wearing your contacts overnight is spot on. People who wear them overnight will probably be ok for a few years, but in time will develop problems and have to go back to glasses. Essentially, people who wear their contacts overnight burn the candle at both ends. My first optmetrist neglected to mention that fact when I first bought mine. After developing problems, I switched to wearing disposables and removing them daily. This worked very well for me, but the gas permeable lenses are more comfortable for me.

Just one tip. If you start to feel a stinging sensation in your eyes after a few weeks, one tip that my doctor gave me really helped. He told me to stop using deordorant soap and use something that does not contain lotion or deodorizers or antibacterial clensers. He recommended Ivory soap because it does not contain any extra stuff. I wash with Ivory before handling my lenses, problem solved. My son also had the same problem and when he switched to Ivory, his stinging sensation went away.

I may go back to contact lenses after I iron out my headaches because I love contacts that much!
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Aaron Vogel, Student/Intern, Photographer
Ventura | CA | USA | Posted: 3:53 PM on 08.26.07
->> David,

I started wearing glasses in 4th grade and continued well into high school before my parents allowed me to get contacts. I loved the switch and have seen the contacts get thinner, more comfortable and easier to leave in for long periods of time. I loved my contact lenses and I have no doubt you would too.

However, I would suggest you look into Lasik or Radial Keratotomy (RK). When I found out I was definitely going to Iraq w/ my Army Reserve unit, the first thing I did was visit my optometrist and then the Lasik center. I knew I'd never want to wear glasses in a combat zone and the thought of my filthy hands trying to put a contact lens in while hunkered down in some sand pit didn't seem like a good idea. I had the surgery done a number of weeks before I shipped out and never once had a problem. I've never noticed any problems while shooting either.

The only different (though rarely noticeable) is the star patterns I get around cars' lights late at night. It is very similar to what happens if you don't use eye drops on your contact lenses or have had them in for a long time.
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 4:07 PM on 08.26.07
->> My eyesight was always so perfect, until I started using the computer everyday. Now at 45, I find my eyesight going downhill fast. I wear glasses to drive and I think I probably need them full time now as I can't see anything across the street now.
Lasik surgery is out. I "never" say "never" but I can probably say it would not be an option as I have a horror story in my family regarding this.
Contacts are out as well-I had pink eye once and could't even keep my eyes open to put in the drops. They eye doctor hates me because I always seem to shut my eyes.
Soooo, here is my question: how hard is it to get used to shooting with glasses? I know the day is approaching fast where I will need to wear them all the time (I have been having alotof headaches lately and things are getting more blurry)

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Andrew Smith, Photographer
Ross-shire | UK | Scotland | Posted: 4:53 PM on 08.26.07
->> Debbie, at first I found it difficult to put contacts in. The secret is that JUST ONE TIME you have to hold your eyelid open with your other hand and then press the contact against your eye ball, apply pressure, move it around, and you'll soon stop being squeamish about touching your eye. Once you touch your eye you realise that it isn't at all sensitive. I even found that I could remove a lens by reaching in with two fingers and lifting it off my eye, none of that slide-it-down and roll-it-off malarkey. Just make sure you don't have any dry skin on your finger tips, or long fingernails.
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Kevin Leas, Photographer
Rochester | NY | USA | Posted: 6:21 PM on 08.26.07
->> I'm so glad this thread came up! I recently started debating the contact issue, as I'm starting to get sick of my glasses. My biggest problem with glasses right now is that I always seem to get reflections off of them, so I find myself staring at my own eye from just a few inches away - it drives me crazy!

I've thought about surgery, as I'm 22 and my prescription hasn't changed a bit since I first started wearing glasses in 7th grade, but I've read so many things about possible complications, having to get it done again down the road, etc, to turn me off of the idea.
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Marie Hughes, Photographer
Fremont | CA | USA | Posted: 6:39 PM on 08.26.07
->> I wore contacts for a long time once I switched to disposables. But now I need a different prescriptions for far and near and if I wore contacts, I'd have to still have reading glasses. I tried shooting an event like that and I went nuts. Glasses off to shoot, glasses back on to fiddle with camera settings and take notes.

So back to glasses. They have worked surprisingly well. But I do mostly indoor sports so weather isn't a factor.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 7:30 PM on 08.26.07
->> Since my contacts only correct my vision for distance I still have to wear bifocal glasses (top clear/bottom +2) to read... It was either that or keep putting-on/taking-off a pair of reading glasses.

Go for the contacts.
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Melissa Wade, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 7:59 PM on 08.26.07
->> Debbie - I still can't put in eye drops and I've been wearing hard contacts for over 25 years. They are very different sensations. When I first went to the eye doctor for contacts he told me to practice touching each eyeball once during every commercial break when I watched tv (touch the inside corner). A week later when I got my contacts, it was easy. I think hard are much easier than soft as far as putting in goes - I did briefly try soft and not only did I have more trouble getting the soft ones in (more important to do it perfectly since they can wrinkle or tear), but if I had an issue with them while wearing, it was much harder as well. Hard contacts are a breeze - if your eyes get dry, pop it in your mouth (your saliva is very close to the moisture in your eyes - just don't do after eating something hot or right after starting a new piece of an extreme mint piece of gum). If you really have a problem, just stick it in your pocket - it will be fine. Can't do that with soft.

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Melissa Wade, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 8:02 PM on 08.26.07
->> Sorry about the double post, but I noticed a lot of people saying they still had to use glasses with their contacts. There are bifocal contacts now, in both soft and hard versions. If you google, there seem to be a number of different manufacturers so you may want to ask your doctor on your next visit (and if s/he doesn't know about them, you may want to try a new doctor).
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Dianna Russell, Photographer
Springfield | MO | USA | Posted: 8:33 PM on 08.26.07
->> I have gone back to wearing contacts -- gas permeable -- after years of wearing glasses. I was also tired of shooting with glasses but still wanted to get sunglasses without them being prescription sunglasses. I didn't want to carry around two pair of glasses and switch them and I didn't like the glasses that change from light to dark and back.

My optometrist said that after your 30s, the idea that GP lenses keep the eyes from getting worse no longer applies. When I wore them before -- in my 20s -- the GP lenses did slow down my progressive myopia. But when I hit 40, I ended up needing bifocals and now the newest contact lenses have that option.

The trade-off is that I don't see as perfectly as when I wear my glasses. They can fine tune distance and close vision in these lenses but they're not perfect. They also cost about $150. each -- and the glasses were almost $500.

I do like shooting better with them though and I like being able to wear sunglasses when I need to. Sunglasses are important protection for your eyes against UV rays.

Maybe some day I will decide to try the Lasik.

I found this informative site about vision:

Good luck in your decision.

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Dianna Russell, Photographer
Springfield | MO | USA | Posted: 8:53 PM on 08.26.07
->> Melissa, I have to respectfully disagree with putting your contacts in your mouth. That can lead to a serious infection and it simply is not worth the risk.
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Wes Hope, Photographer
Maryville | TN | USA | Posted: 8:57 PM on 08.26.07
->> Contacts all the way. I switched over last year and LOVE it. I have astigmatism too and it took several tries before I found a brand that worked for me. But now that I've got everything dialed it, it's a grand (clear) world.

I was an eye-phobic too. I hated the thought of touching my eye and would freak out watching my wife take her contacts out and put them in (the eye-clamp thingie in Clockwork Orange still gives me shivers). But with a lot of patience, I worked around it. It takes a lot of will to get over the flinching reflex when something pointy (your finger) is heading for you eye.

Now my only complaint is that I sometimes ram my eye into the eyepiece on the MkII (partly because I've shot Nikon for years too) and I've accidentally hit or poked my eye while fidgeting with the camera or strap because I've been so used to that protective layer since middle school.

Go for it, but like I said, be patient.
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Mike Ullery, Photographer
Troy | OH | USA | Posted: 9:14 PM on 08.26.07
->> Just adding my perspective to this thread. I wore contacts for several years about 15 years ago. They were the soft, clean and bake at night type. They drove me nuts for shooting so I went back to glasses only. Finally about 3 months ago, I went back to contacts. They are now the change monthly type. I love them! Like others here, I have astigmatism and use them for distance only. I was told that I can try wearing just one and solve the close-up problem but wearing one contact only plays games with depth perception. I've tried in and could probably get more comfortable but so far no luck. I wear both and use a small pair of reading glasses for close work and reading. I've been enjoying my best summer of shooting in years from the aspect of not sweating in glasses. No problems with rain or fogging. And I can finally choose the sunglasses that I like instead of clip-ons. you, I was very sensitive to someone even getting close to my eyes. When I first got contacts, my wife swore that I'd never be able to wear them. (So right away I had the obligation to prove that I could do this. Couldn't have my wife calling me a wimp :) ). The first few days, maybe even weeks were a little touchy. There were times that I fought for nearly an hour to get those suckers in. Once I got used to it problem at all. My routine with my contacts is now literally less than two minutes.

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Bert Entwistle, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 9:51 PM on 08.26.07
->> I have to go with Tom on this one.

If your problem can be corrected with Lasic and you can afford it I would choose the surgery.

I'm more than 2 years into mine and it replaced large heavy bi-focals and I absolutly love it. My wife has 5 years on hers and it has changed her life for the better.

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Johnny Vy, Photographer, Assistant
San Gabriel | CA | USA | Posted: 10:28 PM on 08.26.07
->> I have both glasses and contacts. I make it a point to keep a pair of glasses with me every time I go out with contacts, just in case something happens - it irritates my eye too much, or i get hit and it pops out and I lose it - whatever the worst case scenario may be. Anyway, It is usually a good idea to keep an updated pair of glasses even if you have contacts for those times when you are not wearing contacts. A good time to put those glasses on is when you take your contacts off at the end of the day. I used to wear contacts for years when I was playing sports, then went back to glasses because they were more comfortable, and less of a hassle. Then I started shooting more, and found that my glasses tended to get foggy, or hazy when shooting. That made me get contacts again. That and the fact that I hate swimming without my glasses. Gotta have contacts for that!
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Michael Springfield, Photographer, Photo Editor
Smyrna (Atlanta) | GA | USA | Posted: 6:28 AM on 08.27.07
->> I have both but I have been wearing contacts for about 30 years now. I have been through all kinds of lenses. I am now wearing Acuview Oasis. They are a 2 week disposable. They have a very high water content and can be worn comfortably for 16 hrs or more even in dry environments like gyms or even outside in the sun. Plus they are very reasonable price wise. I get a years worth for around $200 at my local Costco.

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Vasha Hunt, Photographer
Opelika | AL | USA | Posted: 9:54 PM on 08.27.07
->> At about -5 on each eye, glasses for me were clunky and/or expensive - for almost my entire life I wore them, wearing contacts for special occasions, when I wanted to look my best or when the more three-diminsional view from contacts would be helpful, like shooting college football. Contacts are definately preferable when there is the possibility of foul weather. However, they can tax your eyes and cause dry-eye problems. Leaving the wrong type of contacts in overnight can ruin your ability to tollerate them after such a mistake as well (even one night can really mess your eyes up), so a college age shooter who may go out and party after a big game REALLY needs to take a case with him/her or face using contacts on rare occasions (and once you see the view through contacts, glasses are awfull to go back to).

Having said all that LASIK was the best experiance of my life. I would heartily reccomend the company I used, and I looked far and wide to find a place that was professional all-the-way through - if a receptionist doesn't know what wavefront is and says "Honey, we do it all here, don't worry," I highly advise you to worry.

I had my eyes done at LasikPlus - my overall impression was that this was an excellent company - a lot of my impression was based on their Birmingham, AL office, but I felt prety good about communication from their corporate office as well.

After a lifetime of glasses, I couldn't believe the joy of forgetting about them entirely. If Lasik is a rout you can consider, I'd suggest you look into it, but do extensive research before you commit.

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Jody Gomez, Photographer
Murrieta | CA | USA | Posted: 1:23 AM on 08.28.07
->> Since I'm near sighted, I wear contacts to shoot and have to take them out to edit. I have dry eyes, so I'm constantly putting drops in, but the alternative is to not see too well. Every time I try to shoot with my glasses, they get so smeared that I might as well put them in my pocket. :~)
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Jon Wright, Photographer
Wayzata | MN | USA | Posted: 7:33 AM on 08.28.07
->> Add me to the Lasik bandwagon. It has been the perfect solution for me. I was aprehensive at first, but after an extended consultation I went ahead with it. My doctor is one of the best in the Country so that helped my confidence.
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Thread Title: Glasses or contacts?
Thread Started By: David M. Russell
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