If you’re a contact user, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses may be an excellent option for you. RGP contact lenses are also known as gas permeable (GP) lenses or oxygen permeable lenses.
These lenses are different from regular soft contact lenses in some key ways. The experienced eye doctors at Clarkson Eyecare are here to help you understand the benefits of RGP lenses and if they might be the right choice for you.
If you’re looking for new contacts, the experienced opticians and eye doctors at Clarkson Eyecare can help you find a pair that’s perfect for you! We use the latest in vision correction technology to craft optical solutions that are matched to your eyes’ needs. Our state-of-the-art lens labs allow us to offer everything from toric lenses to specialty contacts like RGP lenses.
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RGP contact lenses permit oxygen to pass through the lens material into the eye, which helps the cornea (the dome-shaped part in the front of the eye) breathe better. While soft contacts completely cover the cornea and even some of the sclera (the outer white part of the eye), RGP lenses only cover most of the cornea. Today’s RGP lenses have certain advantages when compared with soft contact lenses, including sharper vision and better comfort.
You may remember the old hard contacts from PMMA. Thankfully, RGP contact lenses have come a long way since then. They're rigid contacts, but much more comfortable.
Keratoconus is a condition that causes the cornea to be dome-shaped and can cause vision problems. It’s usually treated by wearing special contact lenses at night that flatten the cornea and restore normal vision. RGP lenses are the contact of choice to get the job done.
RGP lenses may correct astigmatism more effectively than soft contact lenses. Astigmatism is when the cornea is irregularly shaped and needs correction through contact lenses or glasses.
RGP lenses might prove more effective than soft contacts for correcting myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). They’re also better at correcting for presbyopia, an age-related change to near vision.
RGP lenses are tailored to you. Your eye care provider measures your cornea and then prescribes contacts with the size and correction that specifically suits your needs. That means that every pair of gas permeable lenses is uniquely suited to your eyes.
You need to wear RGP lenses regularly to maintain them. This doesn't mean you have to wear them every day, but you should use them most days. Similar to how lenses treat keratoconus, wearing RGP lenses most of the time may improve your vision when you aren’t wearing them.
RGP lenses cover a slightly smaller portion of the eye compared to soft contacts, so when first wearing the lenses, you may feel them when you blink. You may have to get used to them gradually by wearing them just a couple of hours each day until you adjust. This adjustment period is a common reason RGP lenses are prescribed less than soft contact lenses.
Many people report finding RGP lenses are more comfortable than soft contact lenses. This is because they're less likely to accumulate protein deposits from your tear film. That means you don’t have to deal with that scratchy irritating feeling you get from wearing a pair of contacts for a long time.
A hybrid contact lens is available that combines technology from RGP lenses and soft contacts. This may appeal to those who want the crisp vision RGPs offer and the comfort or familiarity associated with soft contact lenses.
RGP contact lenses can last for a year or longer with proper care. This means RGP lenses may save you money in the long run because you need to buy fewer contact lenses. However, this may change if you happen to have a change in your prescription.
Maintaining RGP lenses is actually less expensive than using and caring for soft contacts over a lifetime. If you are interested in finding out if RGP lenses are right for you, make an appointment with your Clarkson Eyecare eye doctor for more information.
Whether you need an annual eye exam or want to get fitted for contacts, Clarkson Eyecare has everything you need. Schedule an appointment today to begin your journey to clearer, more comfortable vision.