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Gas Permeable (GP) Contact Lenses

The original contact lenses which were hard in nature were made of a material called PMMA. These were uncomfortable to wear and did not allow oxygen to pass through it, much needed to keep the eyes healthy.

Gas permeable lenses (GP) were first introduced in the late 1970s which were a newer and healthier option to soft lenses. Most GPs have silicone which makes them more flexible than the hard lenses containing PMMA. Also, silicone is oxygen permeable thus allowing a better flow of oxygen to the eye and greater comfort and healthier eyes. In fact, GPs transmit more oxygen to the eye than even traditional soft contact lenses. Moreover, they are known to provide better vision, durability and deposit resistance. GPs are made up of a stiffer material than traditional soft lenses and thus retain the shape well even when you blink. They are easier to clean and are long-lasting and thus a less expensive option in the long term than soft lenses.

GPs are typically used by people who are unable to obtain acceptable vision with soft lenses. This includes individuals who are extremely fussy about the quality of their vision, people with astigmatism, prebyopia and with a condition called keratoconus. Some eye care practitioners use RGPs to perform ortho-k, a non-surgical procedure intended to produce good vision without glasses or contacts. Recent studies have proven that fitting nearsighted children with GPs may slow the progression of their nearsightedness to a large extent. GPs are also used for orthokeratology, where specially designed contacts are worn during sleep to reshape the cornea and improve vision.

GP Contact Lenses also have some disadvantages -
GPs require an adaptation period before they can be comfortable. Unlike soft lenses, to achieve maximum comfort with GPs, you need to wear them more frequently than other types. Some people have been known to experience a blur when lenses are removed and often even while wearing glasses. This effect is temporary, but it can necessitate full-time GP wear which may be deemed as an inconvenience for some people. Finally, GPs require special care like polishing during the cleaning process.

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