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Choosing the right contacts isn’t a decision you should make on your own. It’s better to do it with your eye doctor. The decision itself depends on the type of your vision problem and a number of other factors. Basically, there are two types of contacts: soft lenses and hard lenses. Here is the difference between them, as well as some advice on how to choose the right kind for you.

Hard contact lenses

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Hard contact lenses aren’t as popular as soft ones. They’re made of hard plastic, which allows the eye to receive oxygen through them. Because of that, they are also called rigid gas permeable or RGP lenses. They provide clearer vision, are cheaper and last longer than soft lenses, but they can be quite uncomfortable during the initial period of wearing them. They can’t be used during sleep and they can get dislodged more easily, since they’re smaller in size. Although they save money, since they’re more durable than the soft lenses, they are more complicated to maintain and carry a greater risk of dust particles getting under them, creating corneal abrasions and discomfort to the eye.

Hybrid lenses

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They are what their name says – a hybrid between hard and soft lenses. Their center is rigid and gas-permeable, but it’s surrounded by a soft ring. So, they provide you with the comfort of soft lenses, but combined with the properties of rigid lenses, which some patients are required to use. They are easier to wear and can help correct conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Soft contact lenses

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Soft contact lenses can be divided into four subtypes, first of which are disposable contact lenses. These are usually disposed of daily, but there are also types that last up to two weeks before replacing them, such as the comfortable biomedics lenses. The second type are extended wear lenses, which can be worn for 7 days (both day and night). The third type are orthokeratology lenses, or Ortho-K, which are therapeutic lenses that have to be prescribed by a specialist and can only be worn for a limited time period. The fourth type are the cosmetic, colored lenses. These can be therapeutic, but more often they’re not and are worn only to change one’s appearance.

How to choose?

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First, you need to get an eye exam and fitting. The exam will determine the strength of the lens you need and will provide you with a prescription for contacts. The fitting is required to make sure your lenses fit the shape of your eyes and your needs. Other things you need to consider include the sharpness of your vision, the time and effort you can invest in caring for your lenses and how often or for how long you need to wear them. If you want your vision to be sharp and impeccable, you should opt for rigid lenses, unless your doctor disagrees with that. Any lenses will allow you better clarity, but hard lenses will provide you with clearer vision than their soft counterparts. All lenses need to be cleaned daily, with the exception of daily disposable contacts, which you throw out at the end of each day. If you don’t want to bother with cleaning your lenses, they are the ones you should get. Since soft lenses are replaced more often, they carry less risk of infection or irritation caused by low maintenance, but if you don’t mind taking the time to care properly for your lenses, you’ll be fine with rigid lenses, too. You’ll have to disinfect your lenses and their box regularly regardless of which ones you choose. If you plan on wearing your lenses every day, you can opt for either of the two types, but if you only want to wear them on special occasions, choose soft ones, since rigid ones have to be worn all the time to avoid discomfort.

So, when choosing the right contacts, be sure you have all the information you need, including your doctor’s opinion. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice. It’s a big decision and should be treated as such.

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