Upon hearing the term “hard contact lens” or “rigid contact lens,” most of people will immediately think of the old contact lenses made of plastic. Today, ophthalmologists use the term “rigid contact lens” to refer to gas permeable rigid contact lenses, sometimes called RGPs (rigid gas permeables or rigid gas permeable contact lenses). Today’s rigid contact lens is really more like the soft contact lens that is so popular today. However, rigid gas permeable contact lenses have several advantages over soft contact lenses.
RGPs have better visual acuity
There is no doubt that rigid gas permeable contact lenses allow for greater visual acuity than disposable lenses. Soft contact lenses, being made of a thin gel-like material that is fairly flexible, conform to the shape of the cornea. Rigid gas permeable contact lenses maintain their shape since they are made of a stiff material that incorporates silicone. This results in crisper, more acute vision.
RGPs allow more oxygen to reach the eyes
Eyes require plenty of oxygen to maintain optimum health. While it may be true that disposable contact lenses allow more oxygen to reach the eyes than old hard contacts made of plastic, rigid gas permeable contact lenses were specifically designed to facilitate the exchange of oxygen. The silicone material that rigid gas permeable contact lenses are made from is highly breathable. This makes them healthier for your eyes than even soft contact lenses.
RGPs can help to correct astigmatism
People with astigmatism typically cannot wear soft contact lenses because their corneas are not round. Soft contact lenses mould to the shape of the eyes, and would therefore be ineffective for those suffering from astigmatism. However, rigid gas permeable contact lenses maintain their structure regardless of the particular shape of the cornea. This means that rigid gas permeable contact lenses can be used to correct vision problems associated with astigmatism.
RGPs last longer than soft contact lenses
With proper care and cleaning, rigid gas permeable contact lenses can last for years. Their structure and durability prevent them from tearing or suffering other damage that might be associated with soft contact lenses, provided they are treated with care and are cleansed regularly. In many cases, unless the prescription must be changed, rigid gas permeable contact lenses can last up to five years, saving money in the process.