Gas permeable lenses, also known as rigid gas permeable lenses or GP lenses, are contact lenses made of rigid, oxygen-permeable materials. Unlike soft contact lenses, which are made of hydrophilic materials that absorb water, GP lenses are made of materials that do not absorb water and retain their shape when placed on the eye.

Although GP lenses are not nearly as common as they used to be with the prevalence of soft contact lens technology, these lenses are used for a variety of vision correction needs, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia; as well as more complicated corneal issues that cannot be corrected with standard soft lenses.

Gas permeable lenses provide a number of benefits over soft contact lenses. Because they do not absorb water, GP lenses are more durable and resistant to damage from tearing, scratching, and protein buildup. They also provide better visual acuity and sharper vision than soft lenses, particularly for individuals with higher prescriptions. Additionally, GP lenses are more breathable than soft lenses, allowing more oxygen to reach the cornea and reducing the risk of corneal swelling, infection, and other complications.

GP lenses are typically prescribed for individuals who have been unable to achieve satisfactory vision correction with soft contact lenses or eyeglasses. They may also be recommended for individuals with specific eye conditions, such as keratoconus, where the cornea becomes thinner and more cone-shaped, or post-surgical corneal irregularities, where the shape of the cornea has been altered by a surgical procedure.

GP lenses require a period of adaptation for the wearer to become comfortable with them, as they may initially feel more noticeable on the eye than soft lenses. However, with time and practice, most individuals find that they can wear GP lenses comfortably for extended periods of time. Proper care and maintenance are important for ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of GP lenses, including daily cleaning and disinfecting, storing the lenses in an appropriate solution, and following the recommended replacement schedule.

In summary, gas permeable lenses are a viable option for individuals with a range of vision correction needs and specific eye conditions. While they may require an adjustment period and more diligent maintenance than soft contact lenses, GP lenses provide benefits in terms of durability, visual acuity, and breathability, and may be a preferred choice for some wearers.

If you are interested in gas permeable lenses or think you may be a good candidate, schedule an appointment with us today!

-Dr. Aaron Neufeld

Dr. Aaron Neufeld is an optometrist who has a passion for providing personable, thorough, and informative care.  He believes that the best eye exam comes from truly understanding a patient and getting to know their individual needs.  His focus at The Contact Lens Institute revolves around specialty contact lenses and myopia management.

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