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An Introduction to Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Gas Permeable contact lenses, or GPs, are the Apple to the soft contact lenses PC. While they’ve lost plenty of market share to their softer cousin, GPs have plenty to offer on their own. And may be the better option in many cases.

Gas Permeable Contact Lenses (GP) – The Story

What they aren’t is hard lenses. Those are long since obsolete. GPs or RGPs (rigid gas permeable) are made from a firm, durable plastic. Being permeable, the reason they’re called Gas Permeable, they were the first contact lens to transmit oxygen to the eye. And still, despite many contact lens advances, do the best job of allowing oxygen to the eye.

While they’re known by many as rigid gas permeable lenses, they aren’t as inflexible as the old hard lenses.

Five Reasons to wear Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

There are many positives to gas permeable contact lenses, possibly more than soft contact lenses. Here are the positives:

Your eyes can breathe with GP:

Generally made of silicone and other special polymers, GPs allow more oxygen to pass to the eyes than any other contact lens. Oxygen is necessary for healthy eyes. A lack of oxygen passing to the cornea increases the chance for infection.

Your eyes can see with GP:

Gas permeable contact lenses are firm and, while blinking, retain their shape. What that means for the wearer is their eyes won’t have to refocus very often. GPs are many times the better choice for people with astigmatism, presbyopia and keratoconus.

Gas permeable contacts are durable:

Being made of a polymer, they won’t tear and, unless you run them over with a Buick, won’t break. They also resist scratching. This makes for a better value as gas permeable contact lenses will last longer, meaning fewer replacement contacts.

Dry eyes not an issue with GP:

One of the main issues with soft contact lenses is that they’re sponges. They soak up water from a wearer’s eyes and take water from the air not allowing it to get to the wearer’s eyes. Gas permeable contact lenses don’t absorb liquids. What this means is better long-term comfort as the wearer’s eyes won’t be dry or itchy.

Gas Permeable Contact Lenses clean up well:

One other reason that water retention, or lack thereof, is important fewer protein deposits. Fewer protein deposits equal fewer chances at infection. Plus, they’re easier to clean and use fewer cleaning solutions.

The Reason Not to Wear Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Seems like gas permeable contact lenses will not only make you see better but bring about world peace and conquer hunger. So, why would anyone want to wear soft contact lenses if they’re inferior in so many respects? One word:

Comfort issues with GP:

Plop a pair of soft contact lenses in your eyes and it’s a friendship that’ll last days. Take the soft contacts out and put them back in no issues. Not so with gas permeable contact lenses. It takes time to get used to them. Stop wearing them for a second and you’re back at the starting line. Comfort is why the gas permeable contact lenses, though superior in many areas, fall far behind their softer cousins sales.


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