Care of Gas Permeable Lenses

GP (Gas Permeable) lenses require different care to soft contact lenses, with their own routines and products for cleaning, insertion and removal.

Always wash and rinse your hands thoroughly and dry with a lint-free towel/tissue before handling contact lenses. All traces of soap, perfumes, hair-spray, creams and lotions should be removed from your hands and around your eyes.

Insertion

  1. To avoid confusion, make a habit of inserting the same lens – generally the right lens – first. Ortho-K wearers will notice the right lens is green and the left lens blue. For others, there are usually three tiny letters engraved on the lens to indicate which lens is which. Our reception staff can assist should you get them mixed up. Minimize the risk of lens loss by plugging the sink or using a paper towel over the drainage opening.
  2. Remove the lens from your case and rinse with a preservative-free saline solution.
  3. Place the contact lens on the tip of the right index finger, then fill the bowl of the lens with the solution recommended by your optometrist.
  4. Looking directly at a mirror, place your right middle finger on the lower lid and the left middle finger on the top lid. Pull the lids apart and move the lens towards your eye to place the contact lens on the cornea at the front of your eye.
  5. Close the eyes gently. The lens should be centred on the eye.

You may experience some discomfort if the lens is not in place correctly, or if a foreign body, such as an eyelash or make-up pigment, is trapped underneath the lens. If this is the case, remove the lens and re-insert.

Rinse your case out with hot water, wipe with a tissue and leave to dry upside down on a clean paper towel.

Removal

Method 1 – Tug and Blink

  1. Whilst looking down, pull your lower lid down, then out towards your ear.
  2. Open your eyes as wide as possible then strongly blink. The tension you have created with the lower lid will cause your lens to be ejected from your eye rather than rolling under the lids.
  3. Don’t forget to cup your other hand under your eye to catch the lens!

Method 2 – Manual Removal

  1. Using your middle fingers as you did with insertion, open the lids wider than the lens diameter (about 9-10mm). If you can see the whole of your iris (coloured part of your eye) this is generally wide enough.
  2. Apply pressure to the lid margins (as close to the lashes as you can – you do not want to show any of the red inside surface of your lids), pushing in and together to move your lids under the lens and lever it out of the eye.

Method 3 – Suction Tools

Suction removal tools can be used to easily remove your lenses. These are simply placed on the lens and taken out of the eye. However, make sure you can remove your lenses manually in case you do not have a suction tool at hand. Purchase a suction tool from our shop here.

CAPTION: Different styles of suction tool. The green and blue style are most commonly used by our patients.

Dislodged Lenses

Occasionally a lens may become dislodged within your eye. This may be uncomfortable, but do not panic.

  1. Look in a mirror to establish where the lens has moved to.
  2. Move your eyes in a direction away from where the lens is located. For example, if the lens in your right eye is on the white of your eye nearest your nose, move your eyes to the right.
  3. Create a stop on the other side of the lens by applying pressure to the lids with your fingers. This will prevent the lens moving so that when you slowly look towards where the lens is located, it be moved back onto your cornea.

Sometimes it helps to nudge the lens with your lids. Avoid directly pushing the lens back into place as this can damage the surface of your eye.

Cleaning

Always clean your lenses after wear; an effective cleaning process is vital to ensure comfortable, hygienic and infection-free contact lens wear. With correct cleaning, contact lenses will feel better on your eyes, allow better eye health and vision, and dramatically reduce bacteria and other contaminants. There are several steps involved in cleaning and storing RGP lenses depending on your cleaning system:

Hydrogen Peroxide System (AO Sept with Hydraglyde)

These solutions work by having your contact lenses immersed and sterilised in 3% hydrogen peroxide. Over the course of a 6 hour period the catalyst in the case converts the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas. This cleaning solution has the advantage that when your lenses are removed from the case they require no rinsing as they are covered only in sterile, non-preserved water. They also generally require no rubbing step, which decreases the risk of accidental breakage. The case can be left to air dry when not in use, and should be replaced with each new bottle of solution. AO Sept now had the addition of Hydraglyde, an ingredient which improves the wettability of your contact lenses, making them more useful for scleral patients with long day-wear times.

To clean your lenses fill the case up to the line, place your lenses in the correct cage-holder. Most scleral lenses will generally fit into this case, ask your optometrist if the holder does not close easily. Then submerge the case and screw closed. Take care when transporting the case as sometimes the small gas-release hole can leak solution.

Care should be taken not to get the un-neutralised peroxide in your eyes as this will sting painfully. If this occurs rinse thoroughly with water and contact your optometrist if the pain persists or your vision is affected.

Purchase AoSept with Hydraglyde from our shop here.

Multipurpose Solutions (Menicare and Boston Simplus)

1: Clean

Place a few drops of rigid contact lens solution (eg Menicare Plus or Boston Simplus) on the palm and the lens, then rub with your finger-pad for at least 10 seconds on each side. The back surface (concave) is best cleaned by moving your thumb across the surface. This step removes material deposited on the lens during wear. Whilst RGP lenses are strong, with incorrect technique or too much force they can break. Some patients benefit from using a dedicated detergent cleaner such as Lobob rather than their storage solution for this cleaning step.

2: Disinfect and Condition

Place the lens in fresh solution in your lens case – ensure the lens is completely submerged. This step kills microbes on your lenses and prepares the surface of your lens to stay wet through-out wear, increasing comfort. Store your lenses in this solution for at least 4 hours for the cleaning process to be complete. NEVER rinse or store your lenses in tap water, as micro-organisms are plentiful and can cause infections in your eyes.

Find Menicare from our shop here.

Regular Deep Protein Cleaning (Progent)

Patients are advised to use a deeper protein removal product like Progent at least every month. To use Progent, combine the A and B vials in a lens case and submerge your lenses in this for 30 mins. Ensure your lenses are thoroughly rinsed and cleaned after using Progent before inserting into your eyes. Find Progent at our shop here.

Risk of Broken Rigid Lenses

Rigid contact lenses are made of a strong polymer which resists damage in normal wearing circumstances. However, they can still break if mishandled. There are some tricks you can learn to minimise this chance.

  • To increase comfort and oxygen permeability, rigid lenses are designed to be as thin as possible without compromising their structural integrity: most are 0.2mm thick or less. Because the lenses weigh very little, if you drop one it should not break unless it is then trampled on. If a lens falls on the floor, keep your feet still until you have spotted it. If you cannot see well without your lens, call to a friend or family member to help and remember to caution them to be careful where they tread!
  • The lenses are quite small and prone to fall into difficult to retrieve places such as down the sink-hole! Especially when you are learning how to insert and remove your lenses, make sure you use your lenses in a controlled environment such as a quiet bathroom with the plug inserted, or on a table with a clean towel laid flat. This way, if your lens drops you can find it easily and reduce the risk of breakage.

The main handling habits that may cause a lens to break include:

  • Pushing down on the convex side of the lens. This can occur if the lens lands on a mirror or flat surface. Instead of trying to grab the lens, gently slide it off to the edge of the surface or use a suction tool to suck it off the surface.
  • Removing a lens too firmly from the suction tool. This is especially relevant for scleral lenses. Slide the lens off the suction point instead, or release the suction by squeezing the body of the suction tool to reduce pressure.
  • Forcing the lens to bend while cleaning. Some force is required to clean a rigid lens using your cleaning solution, but not much ‒ the friction of your skin surface will do most of the job. If you are pressing down on both sides of a rigid lens this will cause it to flex, eventually snapping if too much force is applied.

It is very rare for a lens to break in your eye unless something hits your eye or your removal technique is incorrect/very forceful. The solutions you use to clean your lenses will not weaken or degrade them ‒ not even the powerful Progent fortnightly deep cleaner.

In Case of Breakage

We understand that when you are learning how to use your lenses you may be inadvertently forceful during insertion, removal or cleaning. Because of this we offer a 1 month manufacturer’s replacement warranty on accidental breakages. Outside of this period, your lens is not covered by a warranty and the lens will need to be replaced at your cost if damaged or lost. If you break a lens within 1 year of its original purchase/fit then we are happy to offer 50% off the price. Outside of this 12 month period the lens will be full-price.

Normally a lens will take less than one week to arrive from the lab when ordered. If you are very dependent on the lens, we will of course ask our lens company to manufacture it as soon as possible. Because of the inevitable waiting time, we encourage all rigid lens wearers to have a spare set of lenses available for a situation where a lens is lost or broken. We also offer 50% off the full price for a spare lens if purchased within 12 months of the original.

If you do lose or damage a lens, please don’t fret, just give our friendly team a call and we will arrange a replacement as quickly as we can.

Things to remember!

  • Do not modify the recommended cleaning/disinfection routine without consulting your optometrist. Short-cuts may save money, but may result in ineffective cleaning or disinfection. This could damage your lenses or lead to a potentially blinding infection of your eyes.
  • Always use the solutions recommended to you. Other solutions may not be compatible and may cause discomfort or allergic reactions.
  • Never clean or store your rigid lenses with soft contact lens solution. These products work in a different way to the rigid lens solutions and will not clean or condition your hard lenses as well.
  • Replace your lens case every 3 months to avoid microbial contamination.
  • To avoid contamination, do not touch the tips of solution bottles to anything, and replace their caps after use.
  • Stop lens wear if you experience persistent discomfort or redness – if in doubt consult your optometrist. If your eyes are very painful after-hours, consult the acute eye clinic at your local hospital.