Soft Vs. Hard Contacts; What’s the Difference?

Curious about the perfect contact for your eyes? We are here with all of the information you need to know! 


Your eye care journey can be an interesting one. You might make many different choices and changes over the years. Sometimes something that worked for you in the beginning, won’t always last the whole lifespan of needing contacts and glasses. That’s ok! Needing to make the switch from soft to hard contacts? Have you never worn contacts before? Are you making the switch from glasses to contacts? Have no fear! All your answers are here! Here at Ocean Eye, we only fit lenses that are healthy for the patient and provide the most comfortable wearing experience. 


Making the switch to contacts or wearing contacts isn’t for everyone. Making the choice is a very personal one and one you need to take very seriously. Sometimes this decision is based on pure need. Contacts can help you stay safe while being active, working, driving, and beyond. Other times, wearing contacts is just the preferred look of the wearer. Whatever choice you make, make sure you are taking proper care to clean, store, and wear your contacts correctly. Make sure you wear them as prescribed, and change them when it’s time. Make sure that if you don’t know how to put in or care for your contacts that a professional shows you how. 


We are here to help you pick out your perfect contacts. Some contacts you only wear once and replace every day. Others can be worn up to a whole month. There are different types of contacts out there too. The type you wear will be recommended to you based on comfort, need, and eye shape. The most common types of contacts are soft and rigid gas permeable contacts. Rigid gas permeable contacts are also referred to as hard contacts. What’s the difference between the two? What are some of the pros and cons? What are some tips to help to wear and care for both? In today’s blog, that is what we will be discussing! 


SOFT CONTACTS 

Soft contacts first made their appearance in the optic world in the early 70’s. This type of contact is known as the most comfortable and the easiest to wear between the two. They are also the most commonly prescribed by doctors. They are made of light, soft, and very flexible silicone hydrogel. They mold to the shape of your eyes and stay put. The plastic allows oxygen to pass through the cornea, which promotes both comfort and the overall good health of your eyes. They are easy to get used to for first-time wearers and long term wearers. They can help with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and more. Daily contacts that you throw out after one use don’t need to be cleaned. You can also get soft contacts that come with tints and bifocals. They are also more difficult to pop out of your eye than RGP contacts, which ensures that you lose them less frequently! 

  • Disadvantages: 
    • Your vision might not be as sharp compared to RGP contacts. 
    • They do wear out and need to be replaced frequently. 
    • They are less durable than hard contacts. 
    • They do not correct every eye problem. 
  • Tips for Wearing: 
    • Wash and dry your hands before putting them in and taking them out. 
    • Clean your case every day and let it dry. 
    • Clean, rinse, and disinfect them after every use. 
    • Always use the proper drops and solutions made for your soft contacts. 
    • Don’t wear them beyond their prescribed time. 

HARD CONTACTS

Rigid gas permeable contacts are made out of stiff plastic that does not mold to your eye as soft contacts do, but they have a lot of other wonderful benefits. Sadly, as beneficial as they can be, hard contacts come with a bad reputation. They were very uncomfortable in their early years, but they have come a long way since the 70’s. They used to be made out of material that didn’t allow hardly any oxygen into the cornea. Today, RGP contacts allow plenty of oxygen to reach the cornea. They give the wearer very crisp and clear vision and are very durable. They have been known to help slow the development of nearsightedness and can correct most astigmatism. They are very easy to care for, they don’t get dry or dehydrate, they always keep their shape, and they can help with cornea refraction therapy. RGP contacts don’t change shape so they are always in focus. They allow more oxygen into the eyes than soft contacts do, making them the healthiest option. They are a great option for wearers who have unique eye shapes that don’t adjust to soft contacts well. They are also great for those who suffer from dry eyes. If you’ve been unsatisfied with soft contacts, consider trying RGP contact lenses instead. While it does take time to get used to them and they aren’t as comfortable, if they’re well cared for, they can last up to 2 to 3 years before needing to be replaced! 

  • Disadvantages: 
    • You have to wear them consistently for your eyes to adjust to them. 
    • They can move around more often.  
    • Debris can get under the lens. 
    • They can get scratched. 
  • Tips for Wearing: 
    • Don’t wear them while swimming or showering. This can help reduce the chance of infection. 
    • Only use solutions and drops that are specifically made for RGP contacts. 
    • Once a week, use an enzymatic cleaner to get rid of any protein buildup on the contact. 
    • Clean and store them properly every night. 
    • Don’t wear them for weeks or days at a time without cleaning. 

Picking out contacts can be a hard decision. There is a lot to consider when it’s time to make a choice. Beyond the information we provided, you also need to consider your eye conditions, your lifestyle, your budget, and which feels best in your eyes. It might take time to come to a permanent decision, but that’s okay. We are here to answer any questions or walk you through any concerns. We are here to support you and your family! As we begin to head back to some sense of normal, continue to stay safe. Until next time, we are here for all of your eye care needs! 

2 Comments

  1. My vision is quite blurry; that’s why I’ve been thinking of wearing a contact lens instead. I’m glad you shared this because I never knew that soft contacts are a great choice since its plastic allows oxygen to pass through, hence it will avoid drying the eyes. I’d also keep in mind to clean and disinfect the contacts every after use.

  2. Thanks for explaining that soft contact lenses are widely accepted as more comfortable and easier to wear than hard ones. I’m looking into starting a fitness program next month and want to get contact lenses to wear because sweating in glasses does not sound fun or manageable. I appreciate you sharing this article and teaching me what my options will be when I get evaluated for contacts!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>