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11 Facts About RGP Contact Lenses You Didn't Know

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses, or RGP contact lenses, are corrective lenses that you may not have heard of before. These lenses are also referred to as GP lenses or oxygen-permeable lenses. So you may have heard of them without even knowing it. You’re likely more familiar with soft contact lenses. These are the contacts that are more commonly prescribed to patients in need of corrective lenses. RGP contact lenses and soft contact lenses differ in a few distinct ways.

Even though you may know little about them, RGP lenses may suit you better than your typical soft lenses. The EyeDoctors Optometrists are here to help you better understand RGP contact lenses to see if they might be a better option for your vision correction.

What are Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts?

So far, the main thing you know about rigid gas permeable contact lenses is that they are different from soft contact lenses. Do you know what sets them apart? RGP contact lenses are made of a special, hard plastic that permits oxygen to pass through the lens material into the eye. This helps the cornea breathe better. Soft contacts completely cover the cornea and even some of the sclera, the outer white part of the eye, while RGP lenses only cover most of the cornea. Today's RGP lenses have certain advantages over standard soft contact lenses. For example, RGP contacts might be more comfortable and make your vision sharper.

Facts About RGP Contact Lenses

1. RGP contact lenses have been around since the late 1980s. Even though these contacts are made with plastic, they aren't the same as the old hard contacts that were made from PMMA. These plastic contacts aren’t used as much anymore.

2. RGP lenses can be used to treat keratoconus. Keratoconus is a condition that causes the cornea to be dome-shaped. This can cause vision problems. RPG contacts are better at retaining their shape and position in the eye than soft contact lenses, which makes them a better option if you’re suffering from keratoconus.

3. 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. Those with a more severe astigmatism may benefit the most from these RGP contact lenses because of their ridged nature.

4. RGP lenses might be better at correcting near and distance vision when compared to soft contacts. This includes the condition of presbyopia, an age-related change to near vision.

5. RGP lenses can be better tailored to your specific needs. The EyeDoctors Optometrists measure your cornea and then prescribe contacts with the exact size and corrections that suit your needs.

6. You need to wear RGP lenses regularly to maintain them. To properly adapt to RGP contact lenses, you must wear them daily. If you stop wearing your contacts for an extended period, you'll have to re-adapt to the feeling of the contacts being in your eye. This is mainly because you’ll notice them more if you wear them less.

7. RGP contact lenses can take a long time to get used to. It can take several days, or even a few weeks before you feel comfortable wearing them all day. One of the reasons for discomfort is that you can feel the contacts in your eyes when you blink. You can gradually get used to them by wearing them for just a couple of hours each day. This adjustment period and potential discomfort is a common reason RGP lenses are prescribed less than soft contact lenses.

8. Many people find RGP lenses more comfortable than soft contact lenses. This is because they're less likely to accumulate protein deposits from your tear film.

9. A hybrid contact lens exists that combines the technology from RGP lenses and soft contacts. This may appeal to those who want the sharper vision that RGP lenses offer, and the comfort associated with soft contact lenses.

10. RGP contact lenses can last for a year or longer if you care for them properly. They need to be stored properly and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The durable material also helps prevent tearing and scratching from everyday use.

11. Over a lifetime, maintaining RGP lenses is less expensive than using and caring for soft contacts.

Man wearing contact lenses during hike joy of sight outdoors

Visit the Experts at The EyeDoctors Optometrists

The eye care team at The EyeDoctors Optometrists is here to discuss your content lens concerns and get you the lenses you need. Schedule a consultation at any of The EyeDoctors Optometrists locations in Kansas for contact lens help.

Schedule an Appointment with The EyeDoctors Optometrists

Depending on your needs, your Kansas eye doctor can help you decide which contact lens type works best for you. With the many advantages that RGP lenses offer, they might be the right option. Talk to our team about these choices and what you're looking for in a pair of contacts. If you’re in the market for contact lenses, book an appointment with one of our expert Kansas optometrists today.

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