Gas permeable contact lens, also known as rigid gas permeable or RGPs, are oxygen-permeable hard contact lenses. A newer technology than soft lenses, gas permeable contact lens are, depending on who you listen to, either the best lenses that you absolutely must be wearing, or a hassle you can very well do without.
If youre used to getting contact lens by mail order, or if youve ever shopped for contacts online, youll be familiar with all the benefits of RGPs. However, before you make a decision (and order your RGP contact lens by mail), you should get all the facts about RGPs.
Disadvantages of RGPs
Essentially, despite all the hooplah that surrounds soft lenses, they pose a few problems.
Firstly, soft lenses are prone to collect deposits on them (from your eyes tear ducts) after regular use and while they can be kept clean with cleaning solutions, their quality degrades over time.
Secondly, soft lenses can tear more easily than hard contacts, although if you take proper care that should never be a problem (you dont poke your eyes, do you?).
The third and the most important factor is that compared to a pair of gas permeable contact lens, a pair of soft lens doesnt give you the same clarity of vision. For many people this is the deciding factor in shifting to RGPs, but there are also a few problems associated with wearing gas permeable contacts, so before you order your RGP contact lens by mail, read the next paragraph.
Primarily, soft lenses are much more comfortable to wear than gas permeable contact lens (which require an adaptation period before they can be comfortable). Also, with RGPs you have to wear them every day, otherwise the whole adaptation period has to start again (not so with soft lenses, which you can leave for a week and wear again without any problems).
So if you lose or break your lenses and you order RGP contact lens by mail, it can be quite irritating to get used to them all over again. The second problem with gas permeable contacts is that they need special cleaning attention.
That is, unlike soft lenses that you simply put into a solution and forget about, RGPs need to be rubbed during cleaning. This fact in itself can lead people to think that gas permeables are a hassle; however since RGPs are longer lasting, more durable, give better vision and stay clean a lot longer than soft lenses, it simply becomes a matter of how much important crystal clear vision is for you.