Although soft contact lenses are most often used, a second, lesser-known type of contact lenses exists: rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, also called oxygen permeable lenses.
Actually, RGP lenses involve newer technology than soft lenses, which are longer-lasting, are often more successful in improving vision, and provide increased durability and resistance to protein deposits. Additionally GP lenses can also be less expensive in the long run than soft lenses. Certainly, its advised to first discuss with your eye care practitioner to determine whether RGPs fit your needs. Our optometry office can help you figure out whether you’re a candidate for hard lenses.
Since a GP is constructed from stiff material, it retains its form well when you blink, which tends to provide sharper vision than the typical soft lens. In addition RGPs are especially durable. Though they can crack if stepped on, they don’t easily rip like soft lenses. Also, since they're composed of materials that don't include water, proteins and lipids from your tears don’t adhere to RGPs as readily as they will to soft lenses. People that are especially fussy about vision quality will most likely choose GPs.
RGPs are also sometimes preferred for those with special considerations such as astigmatism, presbyopia or keratoconus, in which standard contacts may not produce the desired visual acuity. GPs are also preferable for contact users after refractive surgery.
If you are checking out RGP lenses, be sure to first speak to your optometrist to find out if you really are a candidate. You never know…hard lenses could be the perfect answer for you!