Gas Permeable Contacts

Are gas permeable contacts comfortable? Discover the advantages and disadvantages of wearing rigid lenses.

Gas permable contacts are rigid lenses and are known as RGP (rigid gas permeable) lenses in the trade.

With 90% of people choosing soft contact lenses, most would say that they are more comfortable than RGP's. I certainly switched from RGP contact lenses to soft ones when constant dry eyes in an air conditioned environment left me with tired, red itchy eyes all the time.

But RGP lenses have evolved over the years and some people with specific eyesight problems, still choose them over soft ones. Read on to discover the advantages and disadvantages of RGP lenses.

RGP Contacts

While a minority, some people still like to wear RGP contacts and I even have a friend who still has a pair of HARD contact lenses!

Hard lenses are rigid contacts that are now obsolete. They were made of a plastic known as PMMA which did not let oxygen through to the eye. RGP contacts replaced them.

RGP contact lenses have certain advantages:

  • Cost effectiveness - provided your prescription doesn't change, they can last 2 to 3 years.

  • Size - being smaller than soft lenses and rigid, they are easier to handle and there's no danger of putting them inside out. You also don't need to touch the eye with your finger as removal involves a "flicking" action by pulling the side of the eyelid outwards.

  • Better vision - fans of RGP's swear they have improved vision as when you blink, they don't move so easily in the eye.

  • More breathable - made of silicon, they actually allow more oxygen through than traditional soft contacts.

  • Durability - they can't be torn like soft contact lenses.

  • Gas permeable bifocals - recent innovations include RGP bifocal contacts too.

Disadvantages of Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Having worn rigid gas permeable contact lenses for many years, I can testify to these disadvantages which leads many people, myself included, to switch to soft contacts.

Getting used to RGP contacts - it takes up to 14 days for RGP contacts to feel comfortable enough to wear all day long. You start with 2 hours per day then build up gradually which is inconvenient for most people. On top of that, if you leave them out for a week, you have to start the process over again.

Cleaning and Disinfection - it's a pain and adds expense when you have to disinfect gas permeable lenses on a weekly or bi-monthly basis as I did. My eyes produce large amounts of natural protein deposits which used to stick to the lenses and necessitated a weekly cleaning routine. The solution I was prescribed called LC65 also stank to high heaven!

Not every individual will need to disinfect their RGP lenses on a weekly basis but they do need to be RUBBED every night with cleaning solution which is an added extra chore.

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