Gas Permeable Lenses are NOT Gone!
Some refer to them as HARD lenses. Some call them gas perms. They used to be called PMMA. This is a family of lenses that are a harder plastic than the more commonly worn soft disposable lenses. They are hard. They are gas permeable, meaning that oxygen passes THROUGH the lens. They are no longer made of PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate). They are made of VERY sophisticated breathable plastic.
Fitting gas permeable contact lenses is an art. As the rise of retail opticals has led to in-out eye exam in 10 minutes flat, the art of fitting gas permeable contact lenses has been diminished. However, there are still several classes of patients with complicated prescriptions that can only achieve crisp, clear vision in a gas permeable lens. These patients often don’t even have a clue what they are missing. Most of these patients have astigmatism, a high prescription or eye disease. If you feel you struggle with the QUALITY of vision in your contacts, even though you are technically seeing 20/20, please talk to your optometrist about gas permeable contact lenses.
One might ask why we do not fit these lenses as reguarly anymore. In a word, comfort. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGPs) DO provide good quality, consistent vision, but there is an adaptation period. In a society that demands a quick fix, we have had difficulty encouraging our patients to endure this adaptation process, which usually takes about two weeks. So, it is often those who have exhausted all other options, that will turn to RGPs. Nevertheless, there is a growing number of optometrists fitting patients with RGPs, especially young patients, for NIGHTTIME wear, to eliminate the need for vision correction during the day. This is referred to orthokeratology or CRT lenses. Ask you doctor about this wonderful treatment the next time you are in!