London, February 2012—The boffins at GetLenses.co.uk have been doing some “depth research” about how people relate to their contact lenses and what they like about them. It’s called “depth” research because a relatively small number of people are interviewed face-to-face, in depth, about their requirements, hopes, desires, feelings and opinions. See what points you agree with.
“I can see better with my contacts rather than glasses”
Angela, a graphic designer from Stoke-on-Trent, UK, said: “I tell my friends who wear glasses that I can see much more clearly but they don’t believe me. And, anyway, I don’t want to be described as that ‘girl with glasses’.” With contacts, your peripheral vision is improved – there are no frames to get in the way, and there’s no gap to the sides, above and below.
“It’s easier to put my make-up on”
“Years ago, before I wore contacts,” said Susan, an entertainments manager from Croydon UK, “I bought a pair of those flip-up spectacles contraptions, where each lens is on hinges and it lifts up out of the way – so at least you’ve got one good eye to see with. But putting mascara on through the frame was like trying to wallpaper the hallway through the letterbox.” When Susan switched to contacts, she found it much easier. “But remember the rule,” she said. “Contacts first, make-up second. Or you’ll get eyeliner and mascara all over your face.”
“Contacts don’t get steamed up.”
Robbie, an architect from Barnet, UK, said: “My glasses steam up – exactly when I don’t want them to. Like when you’re taking food out of the oven and you find yourself huffing and puffing upwards to clear your specs before you put the dish down – and meanwhile your hands are catching fire through the oven gloves.” Robbie also told us about a time when he walked out of the freezing cold and into a nightclub and his glasses steamed up. He walked up behind his girlfriend and greeted her rather over-enthusiastically. It wasn’t his girlfriend.
“Rain, rain, go away!”
A number of the GetLenses customers all complained about wearing their glasses in the wet. Richard, a pharmacy student from Bradford said: “You can’t wipe your glasses by blinking. You have to stop every five minutes and dry them. Contacts are much better when it’s raining. Which it does quite a lot here.” And Helen, a fitness instructor from Epping, told us: “How are you supposed to exercise with specs on? If you’re doing it right, you’re making vigorous movements and sweating. Those glasses are heading for the floor. Contacts are the way forward.”
“I can wear any sunglasses I want.”
“I love being able to wear shades that suit my mood and the occasion,” Leanne, a part-time model from Aylesbury told us. “If you don’t have contacts, you have to have prescription sunglasses. At the last count, I’ve got 11 pairs and – who knows? – this afternoon, it might be 12.” If your prescription changes, you only need to change your lenses.
“My glasses won’t stay put.”
Bill, a marketing director from Tooting, South-West London, has a problem with his glasses staying where they should be. “I’m always having to shove them back onto the bridge of my nose,” he complained. “I’ve got quite a strong prescription and, quite simply, they’re heavy – even with lightweight lenses. I’ve got a free two-week trial of daily contact lenses from my optician coming up. Can’t wait.”
“My baby boy’s at that grabby stage.”
“Anything shiny, he wants it,” says Gina from Manchester. “I’ve been through two pairs of decent glasses in the past three weeks. Once, he was bouncing on my knee and I turned to talk to someone – I wasn’t looking and he grabbed them right off my face, bent them in half and flung them across the kitchen. They were history. Then, I was changing him and he booted them off my nose, I couldn’t see and I stood on them. I’m going to make a point of wearing my contacts from when I get up to when he goes to bed.”
“It’s harder to see properly when driving at night.”
Even with scratch-resistant spectacle lenses, it doesn’t take long for tiny hairline scratches to appear on the surface, as Marie-Anne, a sales representative from Hull readily testified. “The last thing I need is headlights coming at me like giant blinding starbursts. With my dailies, that just doesn’t happen – it’s much safer.”
“My contact lenses don’t get dirty.”
A big bugbear with just about everyone spoken to was that their glasses got dirty and smudged with fingerprints. “I don’t intentionally touch my glasses. Why are they always so filthy?” said Angela. Robbie concurred: “I’ve never got one of those special cloths with me. Still, I suppose that’s what the corner of my shirt’s for…”
“It’s about confidence as well as comfort and convenience.”
Customers had plenty of derogatory things to say about having to wear spectacles – which is why they love their contact lenses. Marie-Anne added: “Even if it sounds a little bit vain, I do feel more confident in my contacts rather than wearing my specs. I wouldn’t dream of doing an important presentation or going to see a valuable client without wearing my contacts. Glasses just make me feel old and unattractive. And don’t get me started on dating…”
In all, GetLenses’ researchers interviewed sixty people and the consensus was a resounding preference towards contact lenses for all the reasons above and more. If you would like to make the switch from specs to contacts, make an appointment with your optician for a fitting. In the end, only you can decide whether contact lenses are right for you – so hunt around the high street and see which opticians are doing free trials.