To help you understand what Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
are, below are several Frequently Asked Questions and their answers.
What are Rigid Gas Permeable lenses?
Rigid Gas Permeable lenses,
otherwise known as RGP, are the newest hard contact lenses. Unlike hard
lenses of the past that were made of PMMA (think Plexiglas), RGP lenses
are made of an oxygen permeable plastic. A healthy eye needs plenty of
oxygen. RGP lenses not only give more oxygen to the eye, they are also
more comfortable to wear.
B) Why are RGP lenses
Introduced in the 1980’s, RGP lenses are newer than soft
lenses. RGPs have silicone incorporated in their design. Silicone is
oxygen permeable, so therefore your eyes will receive plenty of oxygen.
In fact, RGPs deliver more oxygen to your eyes than most soft lenses.
RGP lenses are generally easier to clean and tend to last much longer
than soft lenses. This makes them less expensive in the long run. They
also provide better vision, clarity and are more resistant to deposit
C) Why aren’t RGPs more popular?
RGPs are made
of a harder material than soft lenses. This means it will take longer
for your eyes to adjust to wearing them. Since the adjustment period can
last for a few days, many people prefer the almost immediate comfort of
soft lenses. That is the main reason why they are not as popular as soft
D) What are some of the benefits of RGP lenses?
lenses are custom made specifically for you. Your eye care professional
will measure the shape of your cornea and prescribe lenses with the
exact size, curvature and prescription that your eyes need.
are durable. If taken care of properly, they won’t need to be replaced
for several years, assuming your prescription does not change. It is
difficult to damage the lenses, unless they are stepped on or scratched.
They don’t tear easily like soft lenses do. RGP lenses can be polished
by a trained eye care professional to extend the life of the lenses.
Another benefit is better vision. In addition, RGPs do not absorb water
so they do not pull moisture away from your eye. This helps your eyes to
stay hydrated and not get dried out and irritated. If you are
uncomfortable with how soft lenses are removed from the eye, the
traditional pinching of the lenses with your fingers, RGPs may be for
you. They simply pop out by pulling on the corner of the eye.
Who should wear RGP lenses?
RGP bifocal contact lenses for people
with presbyopia are an excellent choice. The lenses can be made several
different ways to fit your visual needs. Most people find that they
receive the best visual acuity with RGP bifocals. RGPs can be used to
reshape the cornea, either to be worn during sleep as part of a program
to improve vision or to help people with keratoconus. There are some
studies that suggest fitting children with RGP lenses in an effort to
slow down the progression of nearsightedness.
F) What are the
drawbacks to RGP lenses?
The greatest drawback of RGP lenses is that
you need to readjust to the lenses every time you do not wear them for
one week or so. That is you need to wear them daily for maximum comfort.
That is where soft lenses score over RGP lenses. Most of the RGP lens
wearers complain of this problem.
Some contact lens wearers do
not like the idea of taking time each night to rub the RGP lenses with
cleaning solution. While this takes but a minute or two, it is less
convenient than soft lenses with no-rub solutions or disposables. RGP
lenses are now available in an extended wear version, which would
eliminate the daily rubbing.