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Soft vs. RGP Contact Lenses

Contact lenses come in both soft and more rigid forms. Most people like the comfort of wearing soft lenses when compared to “hard” lenses. The newest technology is contact lenses made from rigid plastic that are Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses. RGP lenses are somewhat in-between a hard contact lens and a soft contact lens.

As optometrists serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, we enjoy having the opportunity to give a full eye exam to our patients. After the eye exam, our eye doctor makes a recommendation of the type of contact lenses that are best for a particular person, considering their needs and lifestyle.

Advantages of Soft Contact Lenses

The soft version of contact lenses is easy to wear. Most people find wearing them to be very comfortable. Soft contacts are good for intermittent wear. Because soft lenses conform to the surface of the eye, they fit more closely. They have fewer problems with dirt, dust, or foreign particles getting under the contact lens to irritate the eye.

Soft contact lenses react less to light. Soft contact lenses are available in tinted colors. People enjoy changing eye color using soft contact lenses as a fashion statement. They are available as tinted versions for use in bright sun, like miniature sunglasses.

Because they fit so well, soft contact lenses are less likely to dislodge from the eye. People who play sports do better with soft contact lenses.

Disadvantages of Soft Contact Lenses

Durable RGP lenses last longer because they are made of harder materials.

  • The materials used to make soft contact lenses might dry out, causing discomfort. This can occur in warm weather, dry winds, when using a hair dryer, or in rooms with a warm temperature and low humidity.

Soft lenses require more care than RGP contact lenses. The material of soft contact lenses can collect fatty lipid deposits and proteins that decrease the performance of the lenses. The material also may absorb chemicals in the air. This may cause irritation.

Advantages of Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses

The newest technology is RGP lenses.

  • RGP lenses are more rigid, but still have some flexibility that is better than hard contact lenses.
  • The plastic materials used to create RGP lenses are permeable. This means they have they have the benefit of allowing oxygen to pass through the materials, which makes them more comfortable to wear.

RGP lenses are available in daily wear or in extended wear versions. They are easier to care for than soft contact lenses. RGP lenses have better durability. They are able to correct any problem with corneal astigmatism. RGP contact lenses are easy to clean and handle.

Disadvantages of Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses

Most people need some time to get comfortable while wearing RGP lenses. They are more likely to dislodge, such as when a person is playing sports. RGP lenses are less effective for intermittent wear. Even though the materials for RGP lenses are more durable, they can still become scratched and break.