With the various types of contact lenses available on the market, it can be difficult to select which contact lens may be best for you. Rigid gas permeable, daily soft-wear, extended-wear, extended-wear disposable, and planned replacement are just a couple of your endless options. Trust, the list goes on as technologies ever growing developments don’t plan on halting anytime soon.
Below we’ll explore two major preferences in the contact lens realm: hard and soft contact lens. Each type of lens has their boon and bane, but ask your local optometrist or ophthalmologist which lens is best recommended for your eye and prescription.
Hard lenses are also known as Rigid Gas Permeable Contact lenses are made from permeable materials. These RGPs allow oxygen to permeate through their rigid structure and into your eye. These contacts last for a longer period of time while other contacts may only last from a single day to several months. Hard contacts do not mold to the shape of the eye but maintain shape on the eye. RGP’s are also available for various eye conditions such as astigmatism, bifocal and multifocal.
Unlike soft disposable lenses, hard lenses can be worn for 6 months. Hard lenses allow oxygen to pass from the exterior of the lens to the cornea. This healthy oxygen flow also decreases the development of nearsightedness in young lens wearers. These lenses are extremely durable and do not dehydrate.
Hard lenses need to be worn regularly to achieve maximum amount of comfort and require a break in period. The adaptation period can be a deal breaker for sensitive lens wearers. More care and cleaning is required than soft lenses as debris can easily accumulate on these lenses due to longer wear and smaller diameter. Since these contacts do not cover the entire eye, UV protection is not offered.
Soft Lenses are generally more comfortable to wear than hard lenses. Soft lenses stay in place and are easier to adjust than RGP lenses. The material of soft lenses is infused with water allowing oxygen to pass through the lens to increase comfort and eye health.
Soft lenses are disposed of more regularly than hard lenses. Soft lenses are a convenient option for those with active lifestyles and work well for those unwilling to clean and disinfect their lenses. Daily disposable lenses also eliminate the need for cleaning and storage. Soft lenses are also offered as daily, bi-weekly, and monthly disposables.
Soft contacts have a higher rate of infection than hard contacts. They are more fragile and less durable than rigid gas permeable contacts. Lenses must be replaced in a timely matter to avoid infection.
Both hard and soft lenses offer advantages as well as disadvantages. Ranging from a variety of materials, both lenses allow oxygen to reach the eye. Hard lenses are more durable than soft lenses but require more care. Soft lenses may be more convenient to those unwilling to undergo an adaptation period. Keep in mind that your lifestyle will also play a huge part into your decision making process. Consider all the above and confirm with an eye professional whether hard or soft contact lenses are best for you.
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