Gas Permeable (GP) or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses serve as an alternative to soft contact lenses, as they are crafted from a rigid, oxygen-permeable material. Although GP lenses are not as widely used as soft lenses, they offer several advantages and continue to improve with advancements in research and technology.
The firm plastic material used in GP contacts allows oxygen to pass through the lens, reaching your cornea and the front surface of your eye. This enables your eye to “breathe,” leading to increased comfort, better eye health, and enhanced safety while wearing contact lenses.
GP lenses offer several advantages over soft contact lenses, thanks to their strong material and oxygen diffusion capabilities.
Health and Hygiene Benefits: Since GP lenses do not contain water, they are less likely to attract and harbor bacteria, reducing the risk of eye infections. Additionally, protein deposits are less likely to accumulate on the lens surface, promoting cleaner and healthier lens wear.
The durable nature of GP lenses makes them resistant to tearing, and they are easy to clean and disinfect. RGPs maintain their shape and do not dehydrate, contributing to their longevity. With proper care, a pair of GP lenses can last a year or even longer.
Better Vision: The rigid material of GP lenses ensures a smooth surface and allows them to maintain their shape, moving along with the eye and providing stable and sharp vision. Unlike some other lenses, GP lenses do not dehydrate, which can lead to reduced vision.
Overall, GP lenses offer improved health, hygiene, and visual benefits compared to soft lenses, making them a desirable option for many contact lens wearers.
GP contact lenses are custom-made for each patient, taking into account the individual curvature, size, and corneal shape of the eye. This personalized fit enhances comfort and reduces the likelihood of dry eyes caused by inadequate oxygen transmission, a common issue with many brands of soft lenses or non-GP hard lenses.
Despite having a smaller diameter compared to soft contacts, GP lenses cover less of the eye’s surface. While it may require some initial adjustment, many individuals find that GP lenses are just as, if not more, comfortable than soft contacts in the long run.
GPs for Astigmatism:
GP lenses are an excellent option for individuals with astigmatism, even if they have been told that soft contacts are not suitable for their condition. The rigid nature of GP lenses allows them to maintain their shape on the eye, resulting in clearer and more stable vision correction for those with astigmatism.
Adapting to GP Lenses:
One drawback of GP contact lenses is the need for an adaptation period, especially if you are accustomed to wearing larger-diameter soft lenses. The main difference is the initial sensation of being aware of the lens edges when blinking. It may take a few weeks to become accustomed to GP lenses, but many individuals report that after this initial period, GP lenses are just as, if not more, comfortable than soft lenses.
GP Lenses for Myopia Control and Ortho-K:
Research suggests that gas permeable lenses may be effective in slowing the progression or worsening of myopia (nearsightedness), particularly in children. They are also utilized in Orthokeratology (ortho-k), a vision-correcting procedure in which the lenses are worn overnight to reshape the cornea, resulting in improved vision during the day.