Soft contact lenses vs. hard contact lenses explained
Contact lenses have been around for a very long time and people who want to avoid eyeglasses go for hard contact lenses and soft contact lenses. With a contact lens, you can see clearly even if you suffer from farsightedness or nearsightedness.
These semi-permanent lenses don't have to be taken off but you need to get a specialist's recommendation before you start using them. But which is better between the two? If you decide to use contact lenses, which do you go for?
Let's review them individually
Soft contact lenses have flexible functionality. They are made from a mix of water and plastic which is why they are relatively lighter. If you are not used to wearing lenses, a heavy contact lens will make your eye feel sore hence the benefit of wearing soft contact lenses.
They stay in place much better than hard contact lenses but they are not as durable. Moreover, wearers are also at a higher risk of infection if they do not maintain the lenses well.
Hard contact lenses on the other hand are rigid and heavier than the soft version. They are made from rigid materials and are designed to allow oxygen to flow through the eye. Hard lenses stay in place but don't change shape to fit the eye as soft lenses do.
People who are not used to wearing contacts have a hard time with hard lenses because they are more difficult to wear. They are at lower risk of infections if cleaned properly but they take time to wear and remove.
The advantages and disadvantages of soft contact lenses
Now that you know the difference between soft contact lenses and hard contact lenses, let us explore their advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of soft contact lenses
1. Increase comfort: Soft contact lenses are very comfy in the eyes because they are soft on the eyes and they only take less time to get used to them. If you have never worn contact lenses before you will have no issues wearing soft contact lenses nor will you feel eyestrain.
2. Very stable: They are bigger and stick to the surface of the eye so they don't move around. Their stability is one of the main reasons why many people like them.
3. Great for rigorous activities: While hard contact lenses may be unsuitable for rigorous activities because they are not stable, soft contact lenses are ideal for such activities as sporting activities.
4. Safe cornea: Soft contact lenses do not place the cornea at any risk because they are soft and apply little or no pressure. They also protect the cornea from particles.
Disadvantages of soft contact lenses
1. Lower duration: Soft contact lenses have a shorter shelf life and so, therefore, will only serve you for a short time. So you will have to change them soon enough.
2. Difficult to manipulate: Once you slip them into the stick and are therefore very difficult to manipulate. This can be a problem if you don't place them well.
3. Low gas permeability: Soft contact lenses have reduced gas permeability compared to hard contact lenses and not all optical powers are available in the soft version.
4. They don't correct high astigmatism: Soft contact lenses do not correct high astigmatism that is above 0.75 diopters. So if you are suffering from worse astigmatism, soft contact lenses will not address the problem.
5. Increased risk of contamination: The main reason why experts advise users to clean their lenses regularly is because soft contact lenses get dirty easily and may lead to infection. The maintenance procedure is expensive and may cost you more money than the cost price of the lens.
The advantages and disadvantages of hard contact lenses
Now let us review the advantages and disadvantages of hard contact lenses.
Advantages of hard contact lenses
1. Vision sharpness: Hard contact lenses are notable for giving the wearer a sharper vision. They provide more clarity than soft contact lenses.
2. Protein resistant: Protein changes that lead to some of the conditions explained in this article are prevented when you have hard contact lenses on. Tear films contain proteins and lipids that may worsen the condition but hard contact lenses act as barriers to resist buildup.
3. Durability: Of course, they are far more durable than soft contact lenses so you can use yours for a very long time before the need for replacement.
4. Correct high astigmatism: Astigmatism that soft contact lenses cannot resolve can be resolved by hard contact lenses.
Disadvantages of hard contact lenses
1. Hard to get used to: Since they are made of rigid materials, people with no experience with contact lens use will take a longer time to get used to. If you have extremely sensitive eyes, it will take a much longer time.
2. Unstable: Hard contact lenses are not ideal for rigorous activities because they move easily. This will make them even more uncomfortable as you will have to place your fingers into your eyes to rest the lens.
3. Daily cleaning required: They need daily maintenance to stay clean otherwise you run the risk of infection.
Who should take soft or hard contact lenses?
Anybody can wear soft or hard contact lenses because of their positive benefits to improve eyesight and general vision. They are made from durable materials and correct major and minor eye issues. However, make sure you seek an expert’s opinion before you wear one.
Soft contact lenses and hard contact lenses are very durable lenses you can use to replace conventional eyeglasses. But it is safe to seek a doctor's advice before you use any of them.