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Hard and soft lenses

  1. Those who have poor eyesight and do not want to wear glasses often opt for contact lenses. However, there are two types of lenses: hard lenses and soft lenses. Both these types have advantages and disadvantages. But what exactly are these advantages and disadvantages?

Hard lenses

  1. Hard lenses, also called dimensionally stable lenses, are relatively small lenses. As the name implies, the lenses are made of a hard material. In the Netherlands, about 40% of lens wearers wear hard lenses, in America that is only 10%. In the past, hard lenses were made from PMMA. This material was not permeable to oxygen, and because that was not good for the eye, hard lenses are nowadays made of a material that does transmit oxygen. So this is also better for the eye.

Advantages

  1. Hard lenses have a longer life than soft lenses and are therefore cheaper. The purchase of hard lenses may be more expensive than soft lenses, but they will last for 3 years. Soft lenses are cheaper to buy, but because they often only last a day, a week or a month, it is necessary to buy new lenses every time. In the long term, the cost of hard lenses is therefore lower. Because the lens lets more oxygen through, the risk of infections is smaller. In fact, a hard lens wearer is 4 times less likely to get infections than someone wearing soft lenses.

Disadvantages

  1. With hard lenses there is space between the lens and the cornea. This can cause dirt to get behind the lens. Hard lenses are therefore generally less comfortable. The lenses also take a fairly long time to get used to. In the beginning it will not be very pleasant to wear the lenses, but this will be completely over after a while. You are more likely to lose your lenses if you wear hard lenses than if you wear soft lenses. Of course it is not the case that the lens falls out with every movement, but the lenses are not suitable for all sports. It is also not smart to go swimming with it.

Soft lenses

  1. These lenses are larger than hard lenses and cover a large part of the eye. These lenses are made of a softer material that resembles perspex. In the Netherlands, 60% of lens wearers wear soft lenses compared to 90% in America. At first it was not possible to wear soft lenses if you had a special power, such as a cylinder. Nowadays this is possible.

Advantages

  1. Soft lenses are very comfortable to wear. Because the lenses cover a large part of your eyes, there is little chance that anything can get under them. The lenses stay in place and are therefore very suitable for sports. It is also possible to swim with them, but you still have to be careful not to lose them. You get used to wearing soft lenses very quickly.

Disadvantages

  1. The lenses are less easy to keep clean and therefore have to be replaced more often than hard lenses. As a result, soft lenses are more expensive in the long term than soft lenses. The risk of infections is higher when wearing soft lenses. You are also more likely to get vascular ingrowth. This is because too little oxygen can get to your eye.



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