Shattky Optometrists

Visique Shattky Optometrists has been serving the people of Hawke's Bay with trusted expert eyecare and eyewear since 1906. We continue a proud history of family ownership with successive father & son teams Ernest & Derek Shattky, Neil & Phil Donaldson plus Mark & Tim Eagle. Using the very latest technologies and systems we specialise in Glaucoma tests, Retinal photography, Diabetic management, Therapeutic drugs, dietary supplements and Behavioural Optometry. We are ACC primary eyecare providers and CAA certificated examiners. Our speciality Orthokeratology and Keratoconus contact lens services are very successful. Using Zeiss, Nikon & Essilor quality lenses, High Fashion frames and sunglasses we excel in providing award winning choice. We provide Irlen and Cellfield specialist services for 3D, binocular problems, Amblyopia and reading problems.

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Home > How We Help > The Best Contact Lenses > Hard and RGP Contact Lenses

About our Hard Contact Lens Services

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What are '"Hard" & "RGP" (Rigid Gas Permeable) Contact Lenses ?


Our RGP Contact Lens price indications


Our RGP fitting process

What are '"Hard" & "RGP" (Rigid Gas Permeable) Contact Lenses ?

The word "Hard" is used to describe only one characteristic, the stiffness, of the plastic material these lenses are made from. The word "Rigid" is used in exactly the same way.

A separate issue is the "Gas Permeability" of the material. The gases we are talking about are Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen  - both of critical importance to the healthy functioning of the cornea. Ideally Carbon Dioxide molecules leaving the cornea would pass freely (permeate) through the contact lens and escape to the air:  Oxygen from the air would pass freely (permeate) in the opposite direction to bring fresh oxygen to the cornea - keeping it clear.

Traditional "Hard" / "Rigid" plastic material did not allow any gas to pass through at all. 

For more than 40 years however we have used Rigid lenses of increasingly excellent Gas Permeability. Hence "Rigid Gas Permeable" (RGP) lenses. The surface of these lenses is easy to clean and not prone to contamination, typically lasting about 3 years - sometimes more, before being disposed of.

It is critical to remember that we are only talking about the material, not the comfort. These lenses are perfectly comfortable on the eye, increasingly so as the gas permeability has increased.

During the period of technological improvement in the gas permeability of "Hard"/ "Rigid" lenses, a similar technological improvement was occuring with "Soft" lens material. The soft materials are Gel-plastics. Being about 50% water they are just amazing for their 'water-loving' (Hydrophilic) and inherent high gas pemeability. The surface of these lenses however is harder to clean and prone to contamination, typically lasting only about a month - never more than a year before being disposed of.

The concept of a "Soft Disposable" is not really valid, all contact lenses are "Disposable".

Both "Hard" and "Soft" lenses are 'Disposable", afterall, even your car is 'Disposable" !

A key difference with the development of the "soft" material was its ease of mass production, so much so that they could be made sufficiently cheaply to be economical enough to be thrown away fast enough to get rid of the surface contamination. They can truly be thrown away each night and a "fresh lens every day" gives great lifestyle and physiological advantage.

The latest development in RGP lens material is the ability to cleanse the surface with a "Plasma stream". This gets the lens surface incredibly smooth and clean, making it very difficulat for greasy proteins or mucus from the tears to stick to the lens and so block the pores of the gas permeable material. The result is increased oxygen to the cornea - so you get even better tolerance any many years of contact lens wear success.

Click here to learn more about the Plasma conditioning of the lens

In particular RGP contact lenses are well proven and very successful. They give very good value for money. After a few days adaption they are as comfortable as soft lenses, we really should use them more than we do!

They are the most economical contact lens option of all, the yearly cost is much cheaper than Soft contact lenses but they are often overlooked by the patient who has heard so many friends to be wearing soft lenses. The word 'Hard' is understandably a little off-putting, but they are in fact very comfortable!

Click here to read RGP Testimonials    

The 'Rigid" lenses have some particular advantages that make them uniquely better than "Soft's"

e.g. whenever the curves on the eye are not regular, or too different from standard curves.

There are a number of eye health problems that fit this description, Keratoconus and High Myopia are two quick examples.

Because of the benefits of RGP contact lenses for these types of problems there is even a NZ Government subsidy for patients with Keratoconus (Irregular curves on the cornea) and for patients with very High Prescriptions (over -10.00). This subsidy greatly off-sets the costs of contacts for these patients.

 Click here to read Keratoconus Testimonials 

Our RGP Contact Lens price indications

All fees and visits for standard Spherical fitting only

  $ 279
Supply of a pair of lenses that are assumed to last you 3 yrs     
$  398
$  677
   (as at Jan 2013)    

Please note that there are many many variations possible with Hard RGP lenses which may vary from the above indications on costs.

We recommend Plasma cleaning on all our NZ-made RGP lenses.


Our RGP fitting process

We take the time, We train you correctly, We get the successes

  • Comprehensive eye examination appointment (if you have not recently had one)
  • Corneal Topography to assess your suitability.
  • RGP Fitting appointment  (sometimes we have to obtain specialty trial lenses as well)
  • Training on Contact lenses insertion & removal and supply of first Contact lenses
  • Payment in Full or setup Direct Debit to us
  • Review the next fortnight
  • When comfort & clarity of vision achieved we go to 6months for Keratoconus or 12 monthly follow-ups thereafter.

If this sounds appealing to you, click here to book the Comprehensive eye examination appointment now.