What are the Differences Between Hard and Soft Contact Lenses?

Summary: When choosing contact lenses, you’ll be faced with a difficult decision – should you go with hard or soft contact lenses?

If you are considering contact lenses, it is relatively difficult to know where to start, and because technology is constantly advancing and adapting, you may be unaware of all the options available. Your eye doctor is the ideal candidate to talk to when you need to assess your options, but a little background information never hurts. It also allows you to consider your personal needs and whether it fits into your budget. This gives you a better understanding of what you are looking for.

Now, contact lenses tend to fall into two separate categories, hard and soft contacts.

Hard Contact Lenses

Hard lenses have existed for decades, starting from a basic model and gradually developing into a comfortable and viable option for those looking for a soft lens alternative. The earliest types of experimental lenses were replaced by plastic and progress to what is now used – Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contacts. Constructed from silicone polymers, these contact lenses provide the eyes with constant access to oxygen, so breathability shouldn’t be much of an issue with these products. Their rigidity also makes them durable enough to withstand a reasonable amount of pressure. Most importantly, they are more cost-effective than soft lenses.

The primary drawback of hard contact lenses is their comfort, as they may take longer to become accustomed to than soft lenses. Optician’s recommend a longer wearing time to let the eyes adjust to the lens.

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses are offered in a variety of different forms, most of which are disposable. They are constructed from soft flexible plastics with a dedicated amount of water that ensures the surface of the eye receives enough oxygen for comfort purposes. Known to be the most convenient, because they are commonly used on a schedule of frequent replacement, these lenses are simply worn for as little as a day and discarded, without the need for cleaning or storing.

Monthly disposable lenses are different from dailies and are common for those looking for a longer-lasting option. They are essentially inserted into the eyes in the morning, removed and cleaned at night, and placed in a clean lens case in a specialized solution. Now, this process may sound difficult, but it’s rather straightforward and will become second-nature once you get the hang of it. While soft contact lenses may be more expensive than RGP lenses, there are certain suppliers like Lens.com that offer competitive prices and a wide selection, so you can pick and choose what is best for your lifestyle.