If you primarily wear contact lenses for vision correction, you may wonder if it is necessary to have a pair of backup glasses at all. It is important for any contact lens wearer to have a usable pair of glasses to wear in cases where contact lenses cannot be worn. Common reasons for needing glasses include having an eye infection, running out of contact lenses, or prior to eye surgery. No matter the reason, if contact lenses are not available or able to be worn, then a pair of backup glasses is very important to have readily available.
Can Backup Glasses Be an Older Prescription
Often, when considering needing backup glasses, one will ask if their older glasses with a prescription from a previous year can be used.
Typically, the prescription for glasses will only change slightly from year to year and this is a great way to have a backup pair of glasses.
In some cases, there may be enough change to the prescription to necessitate having an updated prescription placed in the older frame or an entirely new pair purchased.
In children, there may be larger changes over a short period of time which require updated backup glasses.
If the glasses are in poor condition, then a new pair should be purchased so that the backup glasses are functional if and when they are needed.
Eye Infections and Contact Lenses
If there is an eye infection, including a viral pink eye, bacterial infection, or even a scratch on the eye which may become infected, then an eye doctor may require a break from contact lens wear.
Usually, this break is for the duration of any medication eye drops that are prescribed or until the infection is completely resolved.
This may be anywhere from a few days to multiple weeks. If there is an infection, contact lenses can spread the infection or worsen the infection by damaging the cornea.
In these cases, it is very important to have a pair of glasses that is both available and usable to continue with daily living despite the need to stop contact lens wear.
Running Out of Contact Lenses
Another common reason that a backup pair of glasses is needed is when one runs out of contact lenses.
While it is possible to plan to get an exam and updated prescription before running out of contact lenses, if there is an unexpected delay in getting the lenses or if one of the final contact lenses is damaged or lost, you can be left without any contact lenses to wear for a period of time.
This time is when a pair of backup glasses will prevent the need for purchasing excessive contact lenses with an old prescription or having to request a trial pair to get by until the exam.
Eye Surgery and Contact Lenses
Contact lens wear must be discontinued prior to the majority of eye surgeries including LASIK, PRK, and cataract surgery.
These surgeries rely on precise measurements and wearing contact lenses can alter the cornea and cause issues during or after the surgery.
If seeking any of these surgeries, glasses must be worn for up to two weeks prior to the surgery.