I’ve been wearing contact lenses for over twenty years, and I love them. I’d worn glasses since the second grade, and I hated them — they were uncomfortable, got in my way, and generally made me look like a geek. Contact lenses were just what I needed.
My first pair of lenses were the soft lenses. Soft lenses are very comfortable, that is their advantage. However, my eyelids developed an allergic reaction to the preservatives used in the saline solution and tiny bumps grew on the inside of my eyelids. Every time I’d blink, the bumps would cause my contacts to move around on my eyeballs. My contact lense doctor told me to try the hard, gas-permeable lenses (after wearing glasses for six months until the bumps disappeared.)
The hard lenses were very agonizing to get used to at first. The instructions were to wear the lenses only one hour a day the first day, then build up slowly each day until the eyeballs were used to the hard lenses. It took almost a week before I could wear them all day long. While they are not as comfortable as soft lenses, though, they are much more durable and easier to take care of.
While soft lenses are more comfortable than the hard ones, they are extremely fragile. I used to rip a lens while cleaning about once every other month. The hard lenses can withstand a good cleaning, and the only time I’ve actually had to replace one is when I’ve lost one — I’ve never ripped or broken one in 17 years.
The soft lenses also are harder to take out at the end of the day. The hard ones are much easier, you just stretch the skin around your eye and blink, and it pops out. Also, if you lose a soft lens on the floor (or where ever), if you find it a day or so later it is completely dried out and ruined. The hard lenses can still be worn (after a good cleaning).
The soft lenses also seemed to pop out of my eyes much more often than the hard ones do. I lost several soft lenses that popped out with something hitting my eye. The only time I’ve had a hard lens pop out was when someone threw an ice cube at a rock show, and it hit me directly in the eye.
If you don’t care about money and ease of use, I’d suggest the soft lenses just because they are more comfortable. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on lenses, or spend a lot of time taking care of them, I’d suggest the hard gas-permeable lenses — they last forever! I’ve actually been wearing the same pair now for almost five years. (Yes, I am due for a new pair — just gotta spend the $200 – $100 for a new pair, $100 for the eye exam fee.)