Rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are unlike soft lenses in that they are rigid lenses made of durable plastic that transmits oxygen. The use of gas permeable contact lenses has remained at the core of the optical management of keratoconus. These lenses, manufactured in a large variety of unique designs, provide a regular surface over the cornea to neutralize the visual distortions caused by an irregular cornea. Fitting RGP lenses for patients with keratoconus may take time, as no one design is best for every type of keratoconus. Each lens design has unique characteristics, and the practitioner needs to carefully evaluate the needs of the individual and find the lens that offers the best combination of clear vision, comfort, and corneal health.
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses offer some outstanding benefits for patients diagnosed with keratoconus. Because RGP lenses are made from a firm plastic, they retain their shape when you blink, which can provide sharper vision than pliable soft lenses. Rigid gas permeable lenses additionally allow oxygen to reach your eye, which promotes eye health and wearable comfort. RGP lenses do not contain water like soft lenses do, and therefore proteins and lipids from the eye do not adhere to the lenses as readily.