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Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses

Adapting | Benefits | Cost


What are Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses?


Rigid Gas Permeable contact lenses, or RGP’s, are one of the oldest types of contact lenses available to correct the irregular cornea. They are made of a durable plastic that transmits oxygen, but should not be confused with hard contact lenses (PMMA), which are no longer in use.

Gas permeable contacts were first introduced in the late 1970s; they are actually a newer technology than soft lenses. Most GP lenses incorporate silicone, which makes them more flexible than PMMA. Silicone is oxygen permeable, so oxygen can pass directly through GP lenses to keep the cornea healthy without having to rely solely on oxygen-containing tears to be pumped under the lens with each blink.

In fact, modern rigid gas permeable contacts allow more oxygen to reach the cornea than most soft contact lenses (although some silicone hydrogel soft lenses are comparable to GP lenses in oxygen transmission).

Because gas permeable contact lenses allow oxygen to pass through them, GP lenses can be made larger than PMMA hard contact lenses, and the edges of GP lenses can be fitted closer to the surface of the eye. These design changes make modern rigid GP lenses more comfortable and easier to get used to than old-fashioned hard contacts and also keep the lenses more securely on the eye when worn during sports and other activities.

RGP lenses also provide better vision, durability, and deposit resistance than soft contact lenses. And, because they last longer than soft lenses, they can be less expensive in the long term.

Adapting to RGP contact lenses


So why doesn’t everyone wear gas permeable lenses? Primarily because soft, hybrid, and scleral lenses are instantly comfortable, while RGP lenses require an adaptation period before they are as comfortable as soft, hybrid, and scleral contacts. Additionally, RGP lenses do not perform as well as soft, hybrid, and scleral lenses in a windy or dusty environment.

However, RGP lenses can be significantly less expensive and may be a first lens of choice for many patients. Our doctors perform careful evaluations of each patient to determine the best lens for you. Remember, you are always protected by our 90 day guarantee: If for any reason, you are not satisfied with your contact lenses, you will receive a 100% refund on the contact lens cost or be refit into another contact lens type.

The Benefits of Gas Permeable Contact Lenses


Gas permeable contact lenses offer some outstanding benefits over other lenses. For one, because RGP lenses are made from a firm plastic material, they retain their shape when you blink, which tends to provide sharper vision than pliable soft lenses.

Gas permeable contact lenses offer some outstanding benefits over other lenses. For one, because RGP lenses are made from a firm plastic material, they retain their shape when you blink, which tends to provide sharper vision than pliable soft lenses.

And they’re made of materials that don’t contain water (as soft contact lenses do), so protein and lipids from your tears do not adhere to RGP and Scleral lenses as readily as they do to soft lenses.

With a little care, gas permeable contact lenses can last for years, as long as you don’t require a prescription change.

Cost


The cost of RGP contact lenses can be less than other contact lenses and they have a long life. They can dislodge from the eye during activity easier than other contact lens types. These contact lenses are not always the first choice of our doctors, but they play an important role in the care of our patients.