Hard Contacts vs. Soft Contacts

Contact Lenses

The Difference Between Hard Contact Lenses and Soft Contact Lenses


Personally, I often wondered the difference between hard contacts and soft contact lenses. I always just reduced it down to personal preference.

But that’s far from the truth.

As a soft contact lens wearer myself, the idea of wearing semi-rigid permeable lenses (RGPs) – also known as hard contact lenses – never really crossed my mind.

Hard Contact Lenses

Originally constructed from glass, the concept of hard contacts has been along since the time of Leonardo da Vinci. However, technology and materials that were developed around 1970s made contacts practical and useable.

With modern technology, however, hard contacts are made of material similar to plastic and silicon, which makes them more “flexible.” Hard contact lenses move slightly when you blink to allow oxygen thru and are custom-fitted to each individual eye.

Benefits of Rigid Lenses

Since they are hard contacts, they maintain their shape better and are more durable compared to their soft counterparts.

Hard contacts do not tear, nor do they contain water. They provide high quality, crisp vision and, since they confine your cornea in a round shape, they can slow down the development of nearsightedness to some extent.

However, there are always two sides to the grass (or so they tell me). There are things you have to consider before assuming the responsibility of hard contacts. Hard contact lenses are not as comfortable as soft contact lenses. Some sources say that if you wear RGPs, you are constantly aware of them. They move every time you blink, and they tend to fall out more frequently than soft contacts.

Also, it is recommended you wear your RGP contacts on a daily basis; otherwise you have to re-familiarize your eye to your lenses.

Benefits of Soft Contact Lenses

Often preferred because you can get accustomed to them the first time you put them in, soft contact lenses come in different corrections and even different colors. You also have more flexibility with soft contact lenses, as they come in disposable varieties (such as dailies) and therefore lower your risk of infection.

Because they contain water, soft contact lenses are thinner than hard contacts, and they can be worn comfortably for an extended period of time.

Besides being more comfortable and more ideal for extended wear, soft contact lens wearers can switch between contacts and eyeglasses without a hitch in comfort or any accustoming your eyes.

However, soft contact lenses are more susceptible to collect proteins and lipids as well as pollutants that, if not cleaned properly, can lead to infections. (Daily disposable contact lenses don’t typically encounter this problem, however.)

How to Choose Which Contact Lens is Right for You

For further information on which type of contacts are the best fit for you, schedule an appointment your optometrist.  But no matter which kind you decide to get, remember to keep your eyes healthy by taking good care of your lenses by properly cleaning them and disposing them on time.

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4 Responses

  1. josie oneal says:

    For the past month we can not find the right contact to fit we on the third one my right eye is the one can no see far off

    • Sunny says:

      Hey Josie,

      I’ll get in contact with Dr. Kim Grace, from our “Ask an Optometrist” column, and see what she suggests.

      I’ll let you know as soon I get a response!

    • Sunny says:

      Josie, I just received the following email.

      “The question posed is multifaceted and without knowing the patient’s Rx, age, medical and ocular history, type of contacts fitted, it is difficult to suggest a recommendation. “Pull back and force to see small print and read” may indicated possible early presbyopic challenge, who may benefit from using readers on top of contacts or monovsion or bifocal contacts. “My right eye is the one that not seen good” can be from many different reasons including improper fitting, possibly from toric lens which may need adjustment, Rx accuracy, type of lens materical, etc. Once again, without further information, it is extremely difficulty to assess the problem. The patient simply should return to the eye doctor for further evaluation.

      -Dr. Kim ”

      Because we respect and value the privacy of our patients, we cannot discuss your medical history on-line. Josie, please contact your local America’s Best store or visit http://www.americasbest.com/find-a-store and let’s make an appointment to get your eye(s) and contact lenses looked at personally by your local optometrist in America’s Best.

      Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with!


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