Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Though soft contact lenses are the most common type of contact lenses available, there is also a lesser-known category of contact lenses known as gas permeable contacts, or RGPs. Gas permeable lenses are rigid lenses that incorporate silicone material to allow oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye. They are comfortable, long lasting, and more affordable in the long run than most other types of contact lenses.

What are gas permeable contact lenses?

Gas permeable contact lenses are firm contact lenses made of a plastic material that transmits oxygen through the lens. These lenses are custom made for each person who wears them; the lenses match the exact shape of the cornea and center perfectly on the eye, providing crisp vision.

Gas permeable lenses: 

  • Are extremely healthy for the eye 
  • Resist accumulation of deposits 
  • Do not dry out easily 
  • Are simple to handle 
  • Have a longer shelf life than most other lenses

Why are gas permeable contact lenses used?

Although many contact lens wearers still prefer soft contact lenses (due to the adaption period of gas permeable lenses), gas permeable lenses are still worn by a significant percentage of contact wearers, including people who fall into any of these categories:

  • Individuals who have presbyopia
  • People with astigmatism (for whom soft lenses cannot produce sharp vision) 
  • People with keratoconus 
  • People who have to wear contact lenses after laser eye surgery 
  • Individuals who are picky about the quality of their vision

Benefits of gas permeable contact lenses

Gas permeable lenses provide significant benefits over other types of contact lenses: 

  • RGP lenses retain their shape when you blink, which translates to crisper vision. 
  • RGP lenses are more durable than most other contact lenses and will not tear easily (like soft lenses). 
  • RGP lenses will not accumulate as much buildup from cleaning solutions and tears. 
  • RGP lenses are long lasting. 
  • RGP lenses are custom made to fit each person's eyes.

Problems associated with gas permeable contact lenses

With all of the benefits of gas permeable lenses the question becomes, why doesn't everybody wear them? One of the drawbacks of gas permeable lenses is that they require an adaptation period before they become comfortable to wear. Most people end up choosing soft contact lenses because they are instantly comfortable to wear.

To discover which type of contact lens is best for your vision needs, schedule an appointment with your optometrist today.


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