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Are Eyeglass Prescriptions the Same as Contacts?

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A close up of eyeglasses sitting on top of an eyeglass prescription paper

Having both a pair of eyeglasses and contact lenses can be great for navigating the different activities of your daily routine. Contact lenses are a valuable tool for playing sports, hiking or other high-intensity activities. In contrast, glasses might be the better choice for style and comfort when working from home or sitting down to read a good book. 

Both glasses and contact lenses are made to manage vision problems and help you to see clearer. However, the two are not the same, and following an eye exam, you’re likely to receive two different prescriptions. 

At Discover Eyecare, our friendly staff are happy to help you book your next eye exam and find your eyeglass and contact prescription. 

How Are Eyeglass Prescriptions Different From Contacts? 

Although eyeglasses and contact lenses are intended to address the same issues, they are likely to come with different prescriptions. This difference is due to the distance between your eyes and the lens. Contacts are directly placed onto your eyes, whereas glasses are some distance away. Therefore, the prescription must account for this difference. 

Eye Exam

You can get your eyeglass and contact lens prescription exam completed simultaneously if you talk with your eye care provider in advance. For example, a contact lens exam will likely consist of your optometrist checking for additional information:

  • Cornea size and curvature 
  • Pupil or iris size 
  • Tear film evaluation. 

Booking your eye exam is easy with Discovery Eyecare. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and set your appointment today. 


Here are some of the pros and cons of wearing glasses:

Pros of Wearing Glasses

  • A cheap and easy way to fix your vision
  • Lots of different styles and colours to choose from
  • The frames can last for a long time 
  • You’re less likely to be touching your eyes when wearing or putting them on
  • Some glasses can protect against UV rays 

Cons of Wearing Glasses

  • Glasses can impact peripheral vision
  • Some people find wearing glasses uncomfortable 
  • Glasses can get damaged, lost, or dirty during activities 

Contact Lenses 

Here are some of the pros and cons of wearing contact lenses:

Pros of Contact Lenses

  • Contact lenses aren’t visible and will not change your overall appearance 
  • They are better equipped for sports or more intense activities
  • They can be disposed of without needing to be cleaned 
  • They are comfortable and easy to wear 

Cons of Contact Lenses

  • Some people have developed eye infections from wearing contact lenses 
  • People with sensitive eyes might be irritated by them
  • They can be more expensive than glasses 
 patient at the eye doctor during a contact lens exam and fitting

The Different Types of Contacts 

Contact lenses can come in various forms to fit your needs. Here are a few of the common variations of contacts:

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses are the most popular choice due to their more delicate materials allowing oxygen to pass through the cornea. As a result, they are often more comfortable and easier to wear.

Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts 

Alternative to soft contacts, rigid gas permeable contacts are made of harder materials that are built to last longer. They are known to provide clearer vision but require more attention when it comes to cleaning them. 

Extended Wear Contacts 

Extended-wear contacts are made of softer material allowing oxygen to pass through the cornea, and can be worn for longer periods of time. Some variations can even be worn for several weeks at a time

Disposable Contacts

Disposable contacts are typically for one-time use and can be thrown away at the end of the day. They often come in multi-packs that can be used throughout the week or month. 

If you have any questions about your contact lenses or which type is right for you, don’t hesitate to book a consultation and speak with one of our friendly staff! They will be happy to provide more information on choosing your next pair of contact lenses.

How to Read Your Prescription  

At first glance, your eyeglass or contact lens prescription might be confusing with all the different letters and numbers that are written on it. Here is a quick guide to understanding the commonly seen abbreviations on your prescription:

  • (S x C x Axis): This form represents your degree of astigmatism
  • (S):  Spherical
  • (C): Cylinder
  • (Axis): A number between 0 and 180 that determines the orientation of your astigmatism 
  • (O.D): Right Eye
  • (O.S): Left Eye 

If you still have trouble reading your prescription, please book an appointment with our team to discuss your questions. 

Book an Eye Exam Today 

Contact lenses and eyeglasses are great tools for different reasons. They can make your daily activities all the more enjoyable and manageable.

If you’re interested in getting a pair of glasses or some contact lenses, contact our team at Discover Eyecare to book an appointment or learn more about your options.

Written by Dr. Jonathan Laudadio

Jonathan was born and raised in Quebec. He moved to Abbotsford, BC, where he attended high school before moving on to UBC for his undergrad. Jonathan completed his Doctorate of Optometry at the Université de Montréal in 2004 with some training at the Portland VA Medical Centre. He has been in private practice since graduating and has worked six years in a laser surgery/ophthalmology clinic. He is a very proud father of 2 girls, plays sports, loves his Montreal Canadiens, and baseball.
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