The Difference Between a Hard and Soft Contact Lens

 Difference Between a Hard and Soft contact lens

Before explaining the difference between the hard and soft contact lens i want to  elaborate  about the category of lenses. Contact Lenses come in two main categories

  1. HARD  contact lens

  2. soft contact lens

Hard contact lenses are further subdivided into two main categories.


I will try and explain the main differences between the hard and soft contact lens. i will also show where we can apply the best.This will hopefully help patients decide which type of lens suits their needs best.

In many cases, two or three choices will work just as well. The final choice is depends on the the need and affordability.

cost effective and/or frequency of wearing it

Difference between the hard and soft contact lens

difference between the hard and soft contact lens

  • soft contact lens
    Soft contact lens are mass size fits all lenses which make up over 90% of all contact lens sales worldwide. you can easily and quickly fit in to your eyes. it cover the most popular powers. these  are available for short-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism and varifocals for people over 40.
  • You can also get them in various colours. They either last for 1 day or 1 month. The reason why they take up most of the market share is because we can easily fit them.
  • generally it is very comfortable and we need to spend  a minimum time in the consulting room to fit them.
  • They aren’t available in all powers. so people with higher spectacle prescriptions would need to consider hard lenses. They also have the highest risk of infections and was problem especially if not cleaned properly.
  • HARD contact lenses
  • HARD contact lenses have custom designed. you can also easily fit it into your technically anyone can have them. But because they take longer and are more difficult to fit, it would not be practical to give everyone hard lenses; instead we reserve them for people who have no other options.
  • The majority of hard lens patients are those with some problem that results in an uneven corneal surface (the front surface of the eye). Examples are Keratoconus, corneal grafts, corneal injuries, Steven Johnson Syndrome etc.
  • Other examples of ideal hard lens candidates are healthy corneas with high prescriptions, and ex-soft contact lens patients who developed problems from either allergy/dryness or overwear
  • RGP (stands for Rigid Gas Permeable)
  • RGP ( Rigid Gas Permeable) is the first category of hard contact lenses and have been around for many decades. They can be uncomfortable, especially if not fitted perfectly. They also feel much worse with a dry eye and can pop out easily.
  • so they aren’t ideal for many activities. Having said that, many people are still happily wearing their hard lenses today
  • SCLERAL lenses
  • Scleral lenses are the second category of hard contact lenses. thses lenses are indicated when you are not able to tolerate hard contact lens anymore.
  • it may either due to dryness or when the shape of the cornea has regressed so much that the lens can’t stay in the eye. This happens in advanced Keratoconus. They are also sometimes the first choice of lens because of their comfort.
  • Unlike all other contact lenses (soft & hard included), Sclerals don’t float on a layer of rest on the white part of the eye (called the Sclera). By doing so, they seal a layer of fluid between the lens and the eye stays moist all day long, even extreme conditions like air conditioned rooms, underground in mines, smoky environments etc.
  • conclusion

In conclusion, a contact lens practitioner will help you decide which lens is best for you as an individual. Even with professional advice, you will only find the best lens after 2 or more attempts.but it is a lifelong choice so worth the effort. As long as you have clear, comfortable vision, and are not restricted in your activities you will know what works for you.


Can Young People Wear Contact Lenses?

Can young people wear scleral contact lenses?The answer is simple, age is not a criterion. In order to ensure success with a  CL fit, there are certain conditions that need to met, like how motivated is the patient, is the lens prescription suitable, are the apertures too small, is there a underlying condition like chronic dry eye that needs to be taken into account etc.? Once all the boxes are ticked, the chance of a successful CL  ensured whether the patient is 6 or 60.

scleral contact lenses
scleral contact lenses

There are in fact factors that make CL in young people ideal:

  • For some sports, the individual will perform better and safer with contact lenses. Think ball sports like cricket, rugby, soccer and tennis.
  • Self-esteem must not be overlooked in some people who feel very self-conscious with their specs, and by fitting them with contact lenses, you can greatly increase their confidence and happiness too.
  • Ortho-K. Young children with moderate to high degrees of myopia/near-sightedness will benefit from our overnight Ortho-K lens for myopia control. Please see the Ortho-K section for more detailed information.

Dailies (daily replacement lenses), can considered over monthly’s for situations where hygiene or compliance might be a problem. Dailies are also ideal for part time wear (just for sport as an example).

In my experience, I find young people a pleasure to fit CL. They generally are more adept and more compliant than many adults, and the youngest patient I’ve fitted with rigid (hard) CL was 6 years old. It is possible to fit young people; it is easy & safe too. Speak to your children, and you may feel surprise to hear what they have to say on the subject.