Hard vs. Soft Contacts: Which Lenses are Right for Me?

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Hard vs. Soft Contacts: Which Lenses are Right for Me?

Contact lenses offer the convenience of vision correction without glasses.  whether you have an active lifestyle or just prefer a natural look. Around 4.5 million people in the U.S. wear contacts to improve their vision. 

These vision-enhancing lenses come in both hard and soft versions, so you’re probably wondering about the pros and cons of each. At Focus Refined Eye Care in The Heights and Montrose neighborhoods of Houston, Texas, Dr. Pimal Patel evaluates your eye health and recommends which contact lenses could be right for you. 

Hard contact lenses

Hard contacts debuted around 1940 and were the exclusive option for decades. If you wanted contacts, you only had one choice. But contacts got an update in the early 1970s with the introduction of soft contacts. Later that decade, hard contacts modernized, too. 

Today’s hard contact lenses are made of a gas-permeable material, ensuring oxygen can still reach your eyes. 


Hard contacts are durable and can last years if you take care of them.  They’re less expensive than soft lenses because they don’t need to be replaced as often. Hard lenses are often better for those with complex eye concerns like keratoconus. This complex condition changes the shape of the cornea and causes it to bulge out into a cone shape. Usually seen in children and teens, it leads to vision problems.


They can have a longer adjustment period. Usually, new wearers try them for a few hours at a time to adjust, but they can feel more irritating than soft lenses.

Because of their smaller size and rigidity, hard lenses are easier to knock out of your eye if you’re active.  Also, because hard lenses move more in your eye, dust and other debris can get trapped under them and irritate your eyes. 

Soft contact lenses

Soft lenses, made of flexible silicone, conform to your eye shape. You can choose from daily, bi-weekly, or monthly disposable lenses. 


According to the CDC, most contact lens wearers opt for soft lenses. Soft lenses are comfortable and work for astigmatism and many other common eye conditions. 


Soft lenses require more frequent replacements than hard lenses. While hard lenses can last a couple of years, you’ll buy soft lenses at least monthly. Additionally, there’s an increased risk of eye infection with soft lenses if you’re not careful with your maintenance. 

Then, soft lenses don’t work for all eye conditions. In some complex cases, Dr. Patel recommends hard lenses instead. 

Factors to consider

When choosing between hard and soft contact lenses, it’s smart to consider the following factors. 

Eye health

Not everyone has a choice between hard or soft contact lenses. If you have irregular corneas or dry eyes, one may be better for you than the other. Dr. Patel recommends the best choice for you. 


If you’re an athlete, you may prefer soft lenses, which usually adhere to your eyes better than hard contacts. They’re also less likely to get knocked out if you play a contact sport. 


Pricing can be very different between hard and soft contacts. Because soft lenses need more frequent replacements, it’s worth evaluating the initial investment and ongoing monthly costs, including cleaning solutions, to gauge your best option.

You need an eye exam to check your eye health and condition to choose between hard and soft lenses. At Focus Refined Eye Care in The Heights and Montrose neighborhoods of Houston, Texas, Dr. Bimal Patel offers his experienced recommendations for your best contacts. You can schedule an appointment here