RGP Lenses for Long-Term Wear: Durability and Eye Health


RGP lenses offer several compelling advantages compared to traditional soft lenses for those seeking clear vision and comfortable long-term wear contact lenses. RGP lenses are renowned for their durability and can be extremely comfortable after an adaptation period.

What Are RGP Lenses?

Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are a type of contact lens made from a special, rigid polymer containing silicone. They allow oxygen to pass through freely and reach the cornea.

Unlike old hard lenses made of PMMA, RGP lenses provide better oxygen transmission for improved comfort and eye health.

RGP lenses maintain their shape on the eye resulting in sharper vision correction for issues like astigmatism compared to soft lenses. RGP lenses are custom-made to fit the patient’s eye, offering a more precise fit.

Known for their durability, RGP lenses are suitable for long-term wear and can be more cost-effective in the long run than frequently replacing traditional soft lenses. The initial cost may be higher, but the pros of RGP lenses often outweigh the cons of their price.

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What Are the Pros and Cons of Long-Term RGP Wear?

RGP lenses offer several advantages for long-term wear. One of their most significant benefits is providing exceptional visual clarity and sharpness, making them an excellent option for those with astigmatism or corneal irregularities.

RGP lenses are highly breathable and oxygen-permeable, promoting a healthy corneal environment and reducing the risk of complications. Their rigidity prevents dehydration and resists the build-up of proteins and lipids from tears, minimizing deposits that can impair vision and eye health over time.

While there is an initial adaptation period, RGP lenses can provide exceptional long-term comfort. Their longevity also makes them an affordable option compared to the repeat expenses of frequently replacing soft lenses, offering significant benefits for long-term wearers.

On the other hand, the rigidity of RGP lenses can also present some drawbacks. One notable issue is the potential for an extended adaptation period. The eyes need time to adjust to the firm lenses, and if one is not familiar with contact lenses, it may be a few weeks before they feel comfortable.

How Durable Are RGP Lenses?

One significant advantage of RGP lenses is their exceptional durability compared to soft contact lenses. Made from sturdy, rigid plastic, RGP lenses are designed to withstand wear and tear. With proper handling and maintenance, a single pair can last for up to three years before replacements are required.

Some wearers may even be able to extend their durability by keeping the lenses’ surface free of scratches. Their longevity surpasses disposable soft lenses that typically need to be replaced daily or monthly. However, having check-ups every 8-12 months is vital to ensure that your prescription hasn’t changed.

What Is the Best Way to Take Care of RGP Lenses?

Proper maintenance and cleaning are crucial to enjoying the maximum longevity of your RGP lenses. You must clean the lenses daily using a cleaning solution specifically recommended by your eye care practitioner. These unique solutions remove protein and lipid deposits, so they don’t collect under the lenses.

After cleaning, the lenses should be thoroughly rinsed in a lens solution. Never use water or saliva to clean your lenses, which can lead to serious eye infections. Store your lenses in a case in a soaking solution overnight. The lens case you use should be replaced often so that build-up doesn’t contaminate your lenses.

Before inserting or removing your lenses, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid transferring bacteria into your eyes. To decrease the risk of infection, follow your eyecare practitioner’s cleaning instructions precisely and only use the products they give you. Call your provider immediately if you experience persistent redness, itchiness, or vision issues.

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What is the Fitting and Adaptation Process Like for RGP Lenses?

The fitting process for RGP lenses involves more than that for soft lenses. You will have a thorough eye examination to determine which diagnostic lenses to use. You should expect slight discomfort with these initial lenses that feel similar to having an eyelash in your eye. Your eyecare practitioner will explain how to applu your lenses and help you until you feel comfortable.

Your doctor will assess how the lenses fit and how they move when you blink. At your follow-up appointment, they may make some adjustments to ensure perfect alignment. If you are satisfied with the fit and vision correction, your custom RGP lenses will be made to your exact measurements.

Once you have your final RGP lenses, you can wear them for 3-4 hours on the first day and slowly add an extra hour each day. They can take some getting used to, but the slower you go in the beginning, the more comfortable you will be once your eyes fully adapt to the new lenses. Try to be consistent and wear them regularly to help your eyes adjust properly.

Reap the Rewards of RGP Lenses

RGP contact lenses are a durable, customized solution for achieving sharp vision correction and healthy long-term lens wear. While they require some adaptation time and consistent wear to feel fully comfortable, their breathability, resistance to buildup, and precision fit offer a compelling alternative to traditional disposable lenses.

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