Everything old is new again. Or at least everything old has been improved upon, at least where contact lenses are concerned. Nowhere is this more true than with hard, or gas permeable (or “GP” for short) lenses. Some doctors use the term “RGP” for “rigid gas permeable” lenses, but who has time for that? Pull up a seat and ease into a no-school-like-the-old-school vibe.
Every now and then a patient proudly paints a picture of a bygone era in which they walked 6 miles uphill in the snow, used a rotary phone, and wore “those old, hard contacts”. And me, not being one to ruin the fun, can’t bring myself to tell them I just got done seeing 2 patients last week absolutely loving their GP’s. So why do we still bother with that classic technology? Well, the classics are classic for a reason.
In our last specialty contact lens blog post we discussed extended range toric lenses – contacts designed for patients with large amounts of astigmatism. As wonderful and comfortable as those lenses may be, they may not be perfect for every patient. Sometimes a GP lens is *literally* just what the doctor ordered.
Most patients won’t need this kind of lens. So who will? Most of our GP lens wearers fit in to one or more of the following categories:
A GP lens is a custom designed lens. Therefore, it’s necessary to note we won’t have a lens for you to take home on your first visit. We will need to first determine your prescription and take measurements of the surface of your eye. Using the data, an initial lens is produced and sent to our office within a week or two. We will have you try this lens for a 1-2 week “trial period”, after which you will return to our office for a follow-up evaluation. If our evaluation shows the lens to perform well and provide good comfort, we will finalize your prescription. If not, we will make adjustments and trial another set. Finalizing your set may take between 1 to 4 follow-up visits.
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Good Outcome with Gas Permeable Contacts?
It’s important to note that there is no silver bullet when evaluating specialty contacts and there is never a guarantee of success. If gas permeable contacts are not a viable option, there remain many other options on the table. If a patient is motivated to try, we have several other options at our disposal. In a few weeks we’ll talk about taking the best of both worlds. Hybrids, or GP contacts with a soft “skirt” to give that precise GP vision with the comfort of a soft lens.
What Options Are Best for You?
Drs. Shaver and VanAusdal understand that your situation and needs are unique. To learn more about what the best course of action for you would be, scheduled an appointment today by calling us at 480-656-7739!