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Home » Eyeglasses & Contacts » Contact Lenses » Gas Permeable (GP) Contact Lenses

Gas Permeable (GP) Contact Lenses

Gas Permeable (GP) or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses are an alternative to soft contact lenses that are made from a hard, oxygen permeable material. GP lenses are currently less popular than soft lenses but offer a number of advantages and are continuing to improve as research and technology advance.

GP contacts are made of a firm plastic material which allows the passage of oxygen through the lens to your cornea and the front surface of your eye – essentially allowing your eye to “breathe”. This increases comfort, health and safety during contact lens wear.

Benefits of GP or RGP Contact Lenses

Because of the strong material and the ability to diffuse oxygen, GP lenses offer a number of advantages over soft contact lenses.

Health and Hygiene Benefits:

Unlike soft lenses, GPs don’t contain water which makes them less likely to attract and breed bacteria that can cause eye infections. Further protein deposits won’t build up on the lens, keeping them cleaner and healthier.

Because they are made with a strong durable material, GP lenses won’t tear and are easy to clean and disinfect. RGPs maintain their firm shape and will not dehydrate. Further GPs last longer than soft lenses – when cared for properly, a pair can last a year or more.

Comfort

GP contact lenses are custom made for each patient based on the eye’s individual curvature, size, corneal shape. Their ability to transmit oxygen reduces eye problems such as dry eyes caused by reduced oxygen that are common in many brands of soft lenses or hard (non-GP) lenses.

GP lenses have a smaller diameter than soft contacts, meaning that they cover less of the surface of your eye. While this may take some time getting used to initially, ultimately many find that they are just as if not more comfortable than soft contacts.

Better Vision

Due to the rigid material, GPs have a smooth surface and maintain their shape, moving along with the eye to hold their place. This provides sharp and stable vision. Further they do not dehydrate, which is often a cause for reduced vision with other lenses.

Cost

Because they last so long, GPs are much more cost effective than soft lenses, especially disposable lenses that require a constant supply. Because they are made to order, there is an initial cost investment and they will take up to a week to manufacture if you do need a replacement pair.

GPs for Astigmatism

GP lenses are ideal for individuals with astigmatism that may have been told that they cannot wear soft contacts. Because of the rigid nature of the lens, they hold their shape on the eye allowing for more clear and stable vision correction.

Adapting to GP lenses

One of the downsides of GP contact lenses is that they require an adaptation period, particularly if you are used to soft lenses with a larger diameter. One of the major differences is an experience of “lens awareness” in which you feel the edge of the lens when you blink. It could take up to a few weeks to get used to the lenses but many people report that after this initial period they find that GP lenses are just as if not more comfortable than soft lens varieties.

GP Lenses for Myopia Control and Ortho-K

Research shows that gas permeable lenses might be effective in slowing the progression or worsening of myopia or nearsightedness, particularly in children. They are also used in Orthokeratology (ortho-k), a vision correcting procedure in which you wear the lenses at night to reshape your cornea for improved vision during the day.

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Dear Valued Patient,

We are reaching out to inform all of our patients that during this COVID-19 closure our office is remaining open on an appointment-only basis, meaning our doors will be closed except for scheduled eye emergencies or urgent visual or eye health needs. We are focused on addressing possible infections that could potentially become more severe over the next few weeks. The greater purpose is to alleviate any potential burden on hospital emergency rooms that would be caused by patients seeking attention for eye health needs. However, if you are in need of glasses or contacts in order to perform your necessary day-to-day functions we will also do our best to address your needs. We are following the CDC guidelines for treating patients in our office during this outbreak. We understand that these are unprecedented times, but we want you to know that we are here for you in the case that you have a true eye emergency or urgent need. If you are unsure if your case would constituent as urgent, please call our office and we would be glad to answer any questions or concerns that you may have and advise you as to a course of action.

Best regards,

Christopher Coker, OD