Understanding the Differences Between Soft and Hard Contact Lenses

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Understanding the Differences Between Soft and Hard Contact Lenses

At EyeQ we stock a selection of hard and soft contact lenses, as well as hybrid lenses that are suitable for people with advanced keratoconus. Leading specialists such as Bausch and Lomb, Alcon, and CooperVision manufacture our range of lenses, and all are of exceptional quality.

If you don’t know what a hard or a soft contact lens is, you can chat to one of our optometrists. You can also read about it in this article as we outline the characteristics of both types and what purpose each of them serve.

Hard Contact Lenses

Originally, all contact lenses were hard, were made of glass and moved slightly with each blink, allowing oxygen into the eye and the lubrication of tears. These contact lenses were often uncomfortable and caused irritation, with many wearers finding they had to switch between prescription glasses and contacts on a regular basis.

Fortunately, technology has advanced dramatically and hard contact lenses, also known as semi rigid gas permeables (RGPs) are now made of a plastic-like material that allows the eye to breathe. By incorporating silicon, the newer hard contact lenses have a little more flexibility and are far more comfortable, but wearers of these lenses can generally feel them all the time.

As they are rigid in construction, RGP contact lenses are customized to fit your cornea and often provide clearer, crisper vision as they retain their shape better. They are also more durable as they cannot tear easily and as they do not contain water, a single pair can last for years if proper eye care practices and lens solution is used.

Soft Contact Lenses

For many, soft contact lenses are first choice as they are ultra-comfortable and can’t be felt when worn. Soft lenses can also be discarded daily or weekly, and are often the easier option for those who switch between contacts and prescription glasses on a regular basis, as they are very easy to adapt to.

Soft contact lenses are made of a flexible material that’s similar to cling wrap and contains a high concentration of water, allowing oxygen to reach the eye and allow for easy breathability. State of the art technology has ensured that soft contact lenses are available in almost every type of prescription, and can be used to correct myopia, hyperopia and other common conditions. Additionally, soft contact lenses may be coloured in order for the wearer to change their eye colour, and can be suitable for single use, or extended periods of time.

Soft contact lenses are so-called as they absorb water, and different types of lenses can saturate up to 80%. It’s this ability to absorb water that makes soft contact lenses so comfortable, and makes them suitable for wear during almost all activities.

Choosing Contact Lenses To Suit You

For several years soft contact lenses were considered an innovation in eyewear, as they were smaller, thinner and easier for people to wear. Today, soft lenses are the most commonly worn, but with the advent of the new RGP lenses, hard contacts are becoming more popular as each type offers different advantages.

Choosing between hard or soft contact lenses is often a personal preference, or there may be one option that suits your eyes better than the other. Regardless of which you choose you can enjoy clearer vision, and at EyeQ we can guide you in the right direction and ensure that you make a decision that will suit your needs and lifestyle.

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