THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HARD & SOFT CONTACT LENSES.
There are many different types of contact lenses, but the TWO MAIN CATEGORIES are Hard (also called Rigid), and Soft.
Soft Contact Lenses are by far the most popular of the two, they are mass produced in a limited set of powers and are generally one-size-fits-all. Softs are either monthly disposable or daily disposable. The monthlies need a solution to keep them clean & disinfected, whereas the dailies do not as they are discarded at the end of each day.
Hard Contact lenses are mainly, but not always, prescribed in cases where patients cannot wear Soft Contact Lenses. Some examples of ideal Hard Contact Lens patients are those with Keratoconus, corneal transplant cases and high astigmatism where Soft Contacts are not available in high powers. Hard contact lenses are custom designed and manufactured for each individual eye. They generally last 2 years.
ADVANTAGES OF SOFT CONTACT LENSES
· Quickly & readily available due to their off-the-rack nature.
· Ideal for sports as they do not easily come out.
· Generally, very comfortable.
· Easy maintenance.
· Most powers catered for.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOFT CONTACT LENSES
· Can dry out.
· Not available in all powers.
· Not suitable for cases with compromised corneas like Keratoconus or corneal transplants (that is where the hard lenses come in).
· Non-compliance can lead to corneal ulcers.
ADVANTAGES OF HARD CONTACT LENSES
· Ideal for compromised corneas as mentioned above.
· Are custom made for each individual eye.
· They are generally more hygienic than softs, less likely to get ulcers *.
· Better quality of vision than softs, but this dependant on some factors.
· No limit in astigmatism powers that they can correct.
DISADVANTAGES OF HARD CONTACT LENSES
· They take a while to get used to in the beginning.
· A dry eye will make them very uncomfortable and can even make them intolerant to wear.
· They can pop out easily so are generally not recommended for contact sports.
· There is a lot of chair time at the Optometrist’s office before the fit is perfected.
· They can break.
· *Although possible, corneal ulcers are extremely rare in cases where the patient is compliant (follows a few basic rules), and the optometrist is visited regularly.
SCLERALS-FIXING THE DISADVANTAGES OF HARD CONTACT LENSES
· Scleral Contact Lenses fall under the category of hard or rigid contact lenses, with some major differences.
· They are as comfortable and, in many cases, more comfortable than softs.
· The do not fall out so they have an application in active sports.
· They do not dry out over the course of the day or even under harsh conditions like aircon or cigarette smoke.
· With Sclerals you get all the advantages of Soft contact lenses – with all the advantages of Hard contact lenses.
· Please visit the Scleral Lenses section for more information or contact us.