Hard contact lenses, also called rigid contact lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are made from stiff polymers that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. They require specialized equipment and skills in order to measure detailed corneal topography which is unique to every eye.
- Buy RGP contact lenses
- Benefits of RGP contact lenses
- Who could benefit?
- Types of RGP contact lens
- RGP care
Buy RGP contact lenses
Rigid or hard contact lenses require specialized fitting and a prescription. To buy RGP or hard contact lenses, please contact us or make an appointment. We work with all major Australian RGP laboratories including Capricornia, Gelflex & Australian Contact Lenses, EyeSpace Contacts, Menicon, and others.
Benefits of RGP contact lenses
Better vision quality
Rigid contact lenses hold their shape and provide an even, stable front optical surface for the eye, even with complex and irregular prescriptions. Soft contact lenses do not do this. Consequently, hard contact lenses provide a more clear, more high-quality vision when compared to soft contact lenses.
Safer than soft contact lenses
Bacterial infections and associated complications are less likely with RGP contact lenses. However, as with all contact lenses, proper lens care is still important. Rigid contact lenses allow oxygen to reach the front of the eye better than soft contact lenses, which is also a safety factor. More oxygen reaching the cornea is important for corneal health. Many soft contact lenses do not allow sufficient oxygen to reach the eye.
RGPs are more durable and last longer than soft contact lenses. Often, they can be used for over a year before replacements are required.
Lower long-term cost
Initially, getting fitted and buying a set of rigid contact lenses will cost more than a set of soft contact lenses. However, RGP contact lenses can be used for a lot longer. Ultimately, they cost less. Once you are fitted and wearing RGPs, it’s less costly to purchase replacements, and the economy of wear improves further.
There can be literally hundreds of times less plastic waste with rigid contact lenses, compared to soft contact lenses. If you replace your RGP lenses once a year, for example, this is the equivalent of 364 times less plastic lenses and packaging when compared to daily disposable contact lenses!
Who could benefit?
While anyone requiring vision correction can wear hard contact lenses, some people stand to benefit more.
Specially designed RPG contact lenses can be worn overnight to correct vision without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day. This is called Orthokeratology.
Children who are short-sighted or myopic are likely to experience progressively worsening vision over time. Myopia control is important and rigid contact lenses are one clinically proven method of controlling myopia progression.
Dry eyes can be difficult to manage using traditional tear replacement drops. Hard contact lenses called mini-scleral or scleral lenses can be specially designed to hold a pool of liquid against the cornea, providing the moisture it requires.
Someone with keratoconus will most likely be referred to an ophthalmic surgeon for intervention. However, where vision correction is needed, rigid contact lenses will provide a smooth and more regular surface to the eye. They are also more stable on the surface of the cornea.
It can be difficult to achieve good, clear vision after a corneal graft. Rigid contact lenses offer a suitable and safer solution in many cases.
Irregular and complex prescriptions
The customized nature of RGP contact lenses means that more complex prescriptions and irregular astigmatism correction can be provided for. These lenses are more stable and offer better correction than other options.
Types of RGP contact lens
RGP lenses encompass a range of different types of rigid contact lenses. The most common types are:
The most simple of rigid contact lenses, designed to correct simple and common prescription requirements.
Designed to correct both spherical and cylindrical (astigmatism) prescription requirements. Rigid contact lenses also allow the correction of more complex and irregular types of astigmatism.
Scleral / Mini Scleral
Slightly larger than regular RGP contact lenses, scleral and mini-scleral types of lenses are more comfortable to wear and don’t move around as much.
Hard contact lenses required different care to soft contact lenses. Specific cleaning, sanitizing, and conditioning solutions are required to ensure continued clear vision, comfort, and infection control.
Our optometrist will prescribe a suitable care plan for your type of contact lenses. Generally, it will include a daily cleaner, a monthly intensive cleaner, and a lubricant for insertion and wear. You may also require a tool such as a sucker for inserting and removing your contact lenses.