7 reasons you need more than one pair of glasses
You own one pair of glasses, but why might you want — or in many cases need — more than one pair of specs?
Here are just a couple of examples:
- Different frames can take your look from “desk job” to “night on the town.”
- Lens materials and coatings can shield your eyes from the sun and filter blue light.
- Progressive lenses or reading glasses make it easy to read books and text messages.
- Accidents happen. What if you break your glasses and don’t have a spare pair?
Still not convinced? Here are seven reasons you need more than one pair of glasses:
1. To stop digital eyestrain
Before the 1990s, we could count on our hands the number of hours we spent on digital screens each week. Now it is easier to count the number of hours we look away from them.
Devices, particularly hand-held ones like smartphones, challenge our visual coordination, (the combination of our focusing and eye movements), even if you don’t usually need glasses. Your current pair of glasses can help you read the text on your screens, but you may still compensate by adjusting your posture leading to shoulder, back or neck pain. Lenses that filter blue light, increase screen contrast making some eyes less tired at the end of the day.
2. To guard against UV rays
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays don’t just damage your skin — they are absorbed by your eye's corneas, lens and retina leading to photokeratitis, cataracts and, in extreme cases, solar retinopathy.
Solar retinopathy causes visual impairment and vision loss, issues seeing colors correctly, visual distortions, photophobia and headaches. Besides extreme pain, photokeratitis can leave you with scars on the cornea.
Pharmacy sunglasses work fine if you wear contacts (as long as they’re labeled UV 400 for maximum UV protection), but what happens if you primarily wear glasses?
Prescription sunglasses are a great way to see the world clearly and protect your eyes from UV exposure at the same time. If you’re driving as the sun goes down, switch from your sunglasses to your clear prescription glasses.
For those times when you need to go from indoors to outdoors and you don’t remember to grab your sunnies, consider photochromic lenses. Photochromic lenses (light adaptive or Transition lenses) are like three glasses in one — prescription glasses, sunglasses with UV protection and a blue light for your digital devices.
3. For the sake of fashion
Spectacle frames hold your prescription lenses in place, yes, but they’re also a fashion statement.
While your everyday glasses can have sensible, versatile frames — tortoiseshell to match whatever you’re wearing, rectangular and plastic to blend in — your “other” pair can help you stand out.
Cat-eyes are feminine and sassy. Browline glasses are hipster and debonair. Clear frames are chic and simple. Whatever look you’re going for, a second pair of glasses can get you there.
If you are shopping for two pairs of glasses, maybe pick one pair with a professional appearance for your workdays and a second pair with a signature look for your nightlife.
4. To stay safe
When you think of safety glasses (or safety goggles), you likely picture them in a workshop setting, worn by a carpenter hard at work. While safety goggles do protect against debris like wood chips and sawdust, they are also a great asset in other scenarios.
For the best protection, keep your daily pair of glasses for day-to-day activities and get a pair of safety goggles for when you mow the grass, solder in your garage or trim the trees in your yard.
5. To read
Maybe you have nearly perfect vision but you’re starting to have a hard time seeing up-close. If you’re around 40 years or older, it’s natural to start losing your near focusing ability.
Presbyopia (literally “old eyes” in ancient Greek) can make it difficult to enjoy the latest spy novel from your favorite author and keep you from reading the text messages from your kids.
If you haven’t needed vision correction in the past, reading glasses or extended focus lenses may be all you need to see clearly that “Great Job!” email from your boss or to follow a new recipe to make a birthday cake for someone special.
If you already wear glasses or contacts and this is the first time you’re having trouble reading the fine print, talk to your optometrist about the latest in progressive lenses, which will give you all the vision you need.
The advantage of progressive lenses is they enable you to see near (a crossword puzzle), far (road signs) and everything in between.
6. For times your contacts won’t cut it
Perhaps you think of your single pair of glasses as backup for your contacts. Maybe you don’t like the way you look in glasses, or you’ve worn contacts for so long that your prescription for glasses is years out-of-date.
In case of a contacts emergency, having a pair of backup glasses (or more than one pair) is essential.
For example, you stay out later than you thought and ‘overwear’ your contacts or one gets ripped or torn or you scratch your cornea.
Having a backup pair of glasses in your bag, as well as at home for safekeeping, is a great way to give your eyes the occasional break from contact lenses.
7. To adventure
If you spend weekends fishing or hiking in the mountains, you will want glasses suited to your active lifestyle.
For fishing, polarized sunglasses help reduce the glare from the water. Brown polarised are great for freshwater fishing and grey for blue water.
For mountain climbing, you want durability — traditional frames and lenses scratch and break easily.
If you spend your evenings and weekends playing video games or competing in e-sports, gamer glasses will help you to see more clearly.
Whatever your favourite sport or hobby, there are glasses with lenses, coatings and tints that can help you up your game.
When adventure calls, make sure you have the right glasses before you answer.
Bottom line: One pair of glasses may not be — and probably is not — the best solution for all your vision needs. Prescription glasses, computer glasses, blue light filters, photochromic lenses, workday and nightlife glasses — ask your optometrist or optician to help you get the best glasses for your needs and lifestyle.