Are Glasses and Contact Prescriptions the Same?

Before you choose corrective eyewear, it would help to know the difference between prescriptions for contact lenses and eyeglasses. Eyeglasses go over the eyes, while contact lenses go on them. Also, the two types of eyewear vary in the materials used to manufacture them.


So, you have many options if you need vision correction. For instance, you can get contact lenses if you want to hide the fact that you have vision problems. You may also enjoy a stylish pair of glasses if you are more fashion-conscious. 


Are Prescriptions for Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses the Same? 


Eyeglass prescriptions and contact lens prescriptions are not the same. To understand the difference, consider how you wear glasses and contacts. Contact lenses rest directly on your eye’s surface, whereas glasses rest approximately 12 mm from your eyes. So, you will require two prescriptions if you want to use both. 


What Is the Difference?


A contact lens prescription, like an eyeglass prescription, includes the lens power needed to address your refractive error. The lens power specified on a contact lens prescription may differ significantly from that specified on an eyeglass prescription. However, the difference will depend on the contact lenses prescribed and the degree of refractive error. 


Furthermore, a contact lens prescription includes additional information not contained in an eyeglass prescription. Your eye doctor will give you a comprehensive contact lens examination and fitting to determine the specifications. These specifications include:


  • The base curve of the contact lens

  • Lens diameter

  • Lens material and brand

  • Expiration date


You can request an eyeglass prescription following your comprehensive eye exam. However, eye doctors cannot give a prescription for contacts until they perform a contact lens exam and fitting. Alternatively, they must access the patient’s previous prescription and evaluate the fit of their current contact lenses. 


Can Anyone Get a Prescription for Contact Lenses?


Not everyone who needs glasses can use contacts successfully. Certain eye conditions, such as blepharitis or dry eye, can make contact lens wear unsafe or uncomfortable. Also, even if you do not have any pre-existing eye conditions, you may still have sensitive corneas. That means you cannot wear contact lenses.


Prescriptions for Colored Contact Lenses


Perhaps you want to buy special-effect or colored contacts to change the appearance of your eyes. Contact lenses are medical devices regardless of whether you want them for cosmetic purposes or vision correction. So, you must get a prescription for your colored contacts if you care about the health of your eyes. 


What to Expect During a Contact Lens Exam


Standard eye exams and contact lens exams are very similar. However, your optometrist will focus more on assessing the best lenses for your needs during a contact lens exam. The exam will include an eye assessment and a discussion about your lifestyle. Your optometrist will then assess the curvature of your cornea and pupil size to ensure your new lenses fit comfortably and effectively.


Before you choose any corrective eyewear, it would help to understand the difference between eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions. Your eye doctor will assess your overall vision and eye health and determine the best option for your needs.


For more eye care tips, visit Custom Eyes Optical at our Selden, New York office. Call (631) 230-6230 to request an appointment today.

Helpful Articles