Hard vs. Soft Contact Lenses: Which Is Right for You? By Walter Choate on February 22, 2023

Two contact lensesEyeglasses are great but they can get in the way of daily life. Contact lenses make it possible to enjoy clearer vision without wearing cumbersome eyeglasses.

There are several options patients must consider when deciding to switch from eyeglasses to contact lenses. One of the biggest decisions is whether to go with hard contacts or soft contacts. While both types have their own benefits, it’s important to consult an optometrist to find the right fit for your needs.

At Choate Eye Associates, Dr. Walter Choate helps patients decide between hard versus soft contact lenses. If you live in Nashville, TN, Goodlettsville, TN, Hendersonville, TN, or a neighboring area, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.

What Are Hard Contact Lenses?

Hard contact lenses, also called rigid gas permeable contacts, are made of a special type of stiff plastic that allows oxygen to pass through the lens. Because the plastic is stiff, hard contact lenses keep their shape, which results in crisper and clearer vision than soft contact lenses.

Hard contact lenses can correct many different types of vision problems and are especially helpful for addressing vision issues related to uniquely shaped lenses such as astigmatism.

Additionally, hard contact lenses are durable and can last for two years with proper care.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Hard Contact Lenses

There are benefits and disadvantages to hard contact lenses that should be considered when deciding which type of contact lens to wear. Some of the benefits of hard contact lenses include:

  • Provides sharper, clearer vision correction
  • Works well for people with unique eye shape, such as astigmatism
  • Designed for long term use and does not need constant replacement

Although hard contact lenses are an excellent option for improving vision, there are some disadvantages to consider, such as:

  • Hard contact lenses must be cleaned every day
  • Not as comfortable as soft contact lenses
  • More likely to move around throughout the day than soft contacts
  • More likely to collect dust and debris between the contact and the eye

What Are Soft Contact Lenses?

Soft contact lenses are made of silicone hydrogel, making them soft and flexible, unlike hard contact lenses. Soft contact lenses mold to the shape of the eyes, helping them to feel comfortable and stay in place throughout the day.

Soft contact lenses are disposable. However, depending on the type of soft contact lens, contacts may need to be replaced daily, weekly, or every month.

Like hard contact lenses, soft contacts also allow oxygen to pass through them for better comfort and eye health.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Soft Contact Lenses

Like hard contact lenses, there are benefits and disadvantages to choosing soft contact lenses. Some of the benefits include:

  • Soft contacts are flexible, making them more comfortable than hard contacts
  • Available in single use, disposable options
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Stay in place better than hard contact lenses
  • Often easier to get used to wearing than hard contacts

Soft contacts are a great choice for many people who need vision correction but there are some disadvantages to be aware of, including:

  • Soft lenses need frequent replacing
  • Soft lenses are not as durable as hard contacts
  • Soft contacts don’t provide as crisp or clear vision as hard lenses

Deciding Between Hard or Soft Contact Lenses

Deciding between hard or soft contact lenses often depends on personal preference as well as each patient’s unique vision needs.

Those who have certain vision problems, including astigmatism and presbyopia, may benefit most from hard contact lenses since they do not mold to the eye and instead keep their shape, providing clearer vision.

Soft lenses can be a great choice for first time contact wearers as well as those who are interested in contacts that require minimal maintenance.

Find Out If Contact Lenses Are Right for You

For more information about hard versus soft contact lenses, or to find out which type is right for you, please call Choate Eye Associates at (615) 851-7575 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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Dr. Choate

Choate Eye Associates

Choate Eye Associates has been delivering high-quality, compassionate eye care to the Nashville community since 1979. We are affiliated with various leading organizations in the field, including: 

  • American Academy of Optometry
  • American Optometric Association 
  • National Board of Examiners in Optometry 

To schedule a consultation at our practice, call us at (615) 851-7575 or request an appointment online

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"I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam." Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient

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