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Storing RGP lenses dryMedically reviewed by Alastair Lockwood, Eye Health Advisor, Ophthalmologist and Eye Surgeon at Feel Good Contacts.
RGP lenses are best stored in a dry contact lens case if not worn for a long period of time as contact lens solutions can become contaminated with bacteria. Nevertheless, if you wear your rigid gas permeable contact lenses regularly, then you can store them in a clean case with fresh solution.
You'll find that RGP lenses stored wet are best for immediate use after, whereas lenses stored dry require less maintenance.
What are rigid gas permeable RGP lenses?
RGP or GP lenses are gas permeable lenses made from a rigid oxygen-permeable material. Rigid gas permeable lenses are more resistant to proteins and deposits, making them much easier to clean. They also last longer than soft contact lenses and provide a clearer vision for those with astigmatism or unusually shaped eyes.
While RGP lenses are rigid, they should not be confused with hard contact lenses which were made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Before soft contact lenses came along in 1971, all contact lenses were made of this lens material and were less comfortable as oxygen was unable to pass through them.
Gas permeable lenses came along in the late 70s and incorporated silicone into their designs, making them more flexible than the PMMA lenses and allowing oxygen to pass through for greater comfort.
How long can you wear RGP lenses?
To achieve comfortable wear with gas permeable lenses, you should wear them regularly. Soft contact lenses are comfortable instantly, whereas GP lenses take some time to get used to. The length of time for which one should wear their RGP lenses for depends on the individual and what their optician prescribes.
How often should RGP lenses be replaced?
Unlike soft contact lenses, RGP lenses can last a year before they need to be replaced due to their durable nature. However, they need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before storing them when not in use.
How do you store RGP lenses
RGP lenses can be stored dry, although they should be soaked in a wetting solution before being applied to the eye. This will prompt the tear film to spread more easily and evenly over the lens, enhancing the comfort of the lens and improving vision.
Cleaning RGP lenses
You should clean your RGP contact lenses as soon as you have removed them to make getting rid of bacteria and debris as easy as possible. You can use a multi-purpose contact lens solution such as our Blink Total Care Daily Cleaner. Alternatively, you can follow a two-step system to clean your lenses, using a contact lens cleaner followed by a contact lens conditioning solution. Our Boston Advance Cleaner and Boston Advance Conditioning Solution provides an exceptional two-step cleaning process for your gas permeable lenses.
Disinfecting your gas permeable lenses
A GP lens needs to be disinfected once it has been cleaned. Boston Simplus is a premium multi-purpose solution which can be used to clean, disinfect, rinse and store your gas permeable contact lenses.
Removing RGP contact lenses
The blink and pull method below is the most common way of removing RGP contact lenses. Make sure you thoroughly wash and dry your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses.
- Before you remove your gas permeable lenses, you should make sure that the lens is centred on the cornea.
- When removing your right lens, you should place your right index and middle finger in the outer corner of the right eyelid.
- Look straight ahead and pull straight back gently and firmly making the edges of the eyelid tight against the eye.
- Blink hard, and the lens will pop out.
- Follow these steps for the left lens, reverse the position of your hands.
An alternative method of removing RGP lenses can be used for those who have trouble with the traditional pull and blink method.
- Place your middle finger tightly against your upper eyelid.
- Using your other hand, place your middle finger and forefinger tightly against your bottom lid.
- Look straight ahead, push your fingers gently against the eye and move your fingers towards your ear.
RGP vs soft contact lenses
There are many differences between RGP lenses and soft contact lenses. Both these types of lenses have advantages and disadvantages.
Rigid gas permeable lenses offer clear, crisp vision, durability and they are easier to handle and care for than soft contact lenses. They also have a more extended adaptation period, are more easily dislodged and are less comfortable to begin with than soft contact lenses.
Why do my RGP lenses cloud up?
You may find that your RGP lenses cloud up if there is protein or debris trapped underneath the lenses or if they are scratched on the surface. Your lenses can also cloud up if you have been wearing them for too long. It's a good idea to avoid smoky or dusty environments when wearing your contact lenses as this can prevent them from clouding up.
Quick linksWhich contact lens solution do I need?
How to clean a contact lens case
How to look after your lenses