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It is estimated that more than 34 million Americans wear contact lenses, but many remain unfamiliar with gas permeable contacts.

Gas permeable contact lenses are also known in the field of eye care as rigid gas permeables or RGPs. Your optometrist will probably refer to them as GPs or RGPs.

The Benefits of RGPs

Gas permeable contact lenses are made of a firm, long-lasting plastic that transmits oxygen. Because they don't contain water, they resist deposit build-up and are less likely to produce harmful bacteria. Consequently they contribute to excellent eye health, are easily cleaned and last much longer than soft contact lenses.

Because they are rigid, gas permeable contact lenses are easier to handle than soft lenses and since they retain their shape, they provide excellent vision.

They excel in the following situations:

  • Those who are very fussy about the quality of their vision.
  • Individuals with astigmatism for whom soft contacts don't provide acceptable vision.
  • Patients with presbyopia.
  • People suffering from keratoconus.
  • Those in need of contact lenses after refractive surgery.
  • In orthokeratology, where specially designed lenses are worn during sleep to reshape the cornea and restore good vision without eyewear.

Are RGP Lenses Uncomfortable?

To wear gas permeable contact lenses does require a little adjustment but it is important not to mistake RGPs for the obsolete, hard and uncomfortable lenses of the past, which allowed very little oxygen through to the eye.

RGPs do have to be worn regularly to achieve maximum comfort. Unlike soft lenses, when RGPs are not worn for several days, it will take a little time to get comfortable again.

Not being disposable, RGPs require care as they can be used for several years.

Can I Wear Them?

Gas permeable contact lenses are tailor-made for each individual. A comprehensive eye examination at your optometrist will determine the exact shape of your cornea. Lenses will be prescribed according to the curvature, size and corrective power that suit your particular eyes.


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