11 Facts About RGP Contact Lenses You Didn't Know

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RGP contact lenses, or rigid gas permeable contact lenses, are corrective lenses that you might not know that much about. You may have heard about them, but it’s possible they were referred to as GP lenses or oxygen-permeable lenses. You’re probably more familiar with soft contact lenses. These are the lenses that are most commonly prescribed to patients. While the main purpose of RGP contact lenses and soft contact lenses is to help correct vision, they differ in a few important ways.

As surprising as it may seem, it’s possible that the characteristics of RGP contact lenses better suit your needs. Nationwide Vision is here to help you better understand the differences between contact lens types so you can decide which kind you need.

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If you’re in the market for contact lenses, you’ll want to make sure you make the best decision for your eyes.

Schedule an appointment with the Arizona eye doctors at Nationwide Vision. We'll assess your eyes and determine the perfect contact lens solution. Find your nearest Nationwide Vision Location today.

What Are RGP Contact Lenses?

Your knowledge about rigid gas permeable contact lenses is probably still limited at this point. So what are they exactly and what makes them different? 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, the dome-shaped part in the front of the eye, breathe better. 

Soft contacts completely cover the cornea and even some of the sclera (the outer white area of the eye), and RGP lenses only cover most of the cornea. The RGP lenses that are used today have some advantages when you compare them to soft contact lenses. One of the main things to consider is that RGP contacts might be more comfortable and make your vision sharper, although this depends on the user.

The RGP Contact Lens Facts

There is a lot more important information about rigid gas permeable contact lenses:

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

  2. RGP lenses are commonly used to treat keratoconus. Keratoconus is a condition where your cornea is dome-shaped and can cause vision problems. RPG contacts help with this condition because they are better at retaining their shape and position in the eye than soft contact lenses. If you suffer from keratoconus, a more solid contact lens is a better solution.

  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 higher amount of astigmatism may benefit the most from these lenses because of their ridged nature.

  4. RGP lenses might be more effective than soft contacts for correcting near and distance vision. This includes presbyopia, an age-related change to near vision. As mentioned earlier, RGP lenses can make your vision sharper than soft contact lenses.

  5. RGP lenses are tailored to your specific needs. Nationwide Vision measures your cornea and then prescribes contacts with the exact size and corrections that you need.

  6. You need to wear RGP lenses regularly. One of the biggest aspects of these contacts is that they take some time to get used to. To properly adapt to RGP contact lenses, you must wear them daily. If you stop wearing them for an extended period, you will be more aware of the lenses on your eyes and you'll have to re-adapt. 

  7. RGP contact lenses can take some time to get used to. It can take a few weeks before you feel comfortable wearing them all day. One of the reasons for discomfort is that you may feel them in your eye when you blink. Soft contact lenses are much easier to adapt to. You can get used to them gradually by wearing them for just a couple of hours each day. This adjustment period is a common reason RGP lenses are prescribed less often than soft contact lenses. It’s still tough to adapt regardless of if you used to wear soft contact lenses or not.

  8. Even though we said it takes time to adapt, 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 is available 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 thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and properly stored. The durable plastic material also helps prevent tearing and scratching. Soft contact lenses are much easier to damage,

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

Book Your Eye Exam at Nationwide Vision

Depending on your needs, your eye doctor can help you decide which contact lens type works best for you. With the many advantages that RGP contact lenses offer, they might be the right vision correction option. Book an appointment with your nearest Arizona eye specialist at Nationwide Vision. Relief is just a call or click away!

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