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Which are better, hard contacts or soft contacts?

When first developed, contact lenses were only available as hard lenses. Today’s hard lenses, called gas permeable, are much improved. They can be worn for up to a year without needing to be replaced as long as they are properly cared for.

“Typically, the people who choose hard lenses have eye conditions that don’t allow them to wear a soft lens,” says Dr. Immler. “They might have an irregularly shaped eye or a condition called keratoconus, which causes thinning of the cornea.”

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The vast majority of Dr. Immler’s patients (around 90 to 95%) choose soft lenses. Soft contact lenses are typically thinner, lighter and more comfortable than hard lenses. Lens manufacturers now use a silicone hydrogel material that allows more oxygen to reach the eye. Soft contact lenses come in three varieties:

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  • Monthly disposables: Remove the lenses and store them in a disinfectant solution overnight. Repeat for 30 days then discard.
  • Bi-weekly disposables: Same as monthly but throw them away after two weeks.
  • Daily disposables: Pop in a fresh pair of lenses each day.

“Everything is heading toward daily disposable soft contact lenses — 40 to 50% of the people I see are wearing daily disposables, and that number is growing every year,” says Dr. Immler. “The advantage of a fresh pair daily is the reduced likelihood of dryness and allergies, damage and infection.”

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