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Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are made of a soft plastic and are more comfortable than hard contact lenses because they hold more water. Many soft contact lenses also provide UV protection. They are usually disposable and can be thrown away after a short period of use, generally every two to four weeks or daily, depending on the type of contact lens prescribed. Being able to have a fresh pair of soft contact lenses means less chance of infection, less cleaning, and more comfort, especially for people whose eyes naturally produce more protein that clouds contact lenses.
While most people choose soft contact lenses because of their benefits, there are also some disadvantages. Soft contact lenses easily absorb pollutants like lotion or soap from your hands, which can irritate your eyes. Soft contact lenses are also more fragile than hard contact lenses and can rip or tear easily.
The most recent type of soft contact lenses to hit the market include Daily Disposables and New Silicone Extended Wear Disposables.
- Daily disposables. These soft contact lenses are only worn once and then thrown away. The benefits of Daily Disposables include never having to clean your contact lenses, convenient replacement schedule, and reduction of dry eye and irritation related to contact solutions. If you are an allergy sufferer, these are the contact lenses for you.
- Silicone Extended Wear Disposables. These soft contact lenses are made with a new material that can be worn for up to 30 nights and days. The new silicone material also prevents deposit build up and reduces dry eye irritation.
Rigid Gas Permeable Hard Contact Lenses
Rigid gas permeable lenses, or hard contact lenses, are more rigid than soft contact lenses and therefore more durable. Unlike older versions of hard contact lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses are made with silicone polymers, allowing oxygen to circulate to the cornea of the eye. Compared to soft contact lenses, hard contacts maintain their shape better and offer clearer vision for some types of corrections. They are also easy to take care of and are extremely durable. However, if you are considering this type of hard contact lens, you should know that:
- There is a 10-15 times greater risk of developing corneal ulcers, a serious infection, which may damage your vision if not treated.
- Sleeping in extended wear contacts may decrease flow of oxygen to the cornea.
- Undesirable reshaping of the cornea may occur.
- The amount of time needed to adjust to hard contact lenses is often repeated after not wearing them for as little as a day. Therefore, in order to achieve maximum comfort you have to wear the contact lenses everyday.