Advertisement

Obituary—Rigid contact lenses

  • Nathan Efron
    Correspondence
    Tel.: +61 7 3138 6401; fax: +61 7 3319 6974.
    Affiliations
    Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Optometry, Queensland University of Technology, 60 Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove, Queensland 4059, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
Published:August 02, 2010DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clae.2010.06.009

      Abstract

      Scleral and corneal rigid lenses represented 100 per cent of the contact lens market immediately prior to the invention of soft lenses in the mid-1960s. In the United Kingdom today, rigid lenses comprise 2 per cent of all new lens fits. Low rates of rigid lens fitting are also apparent in 27 other countries which have recently been surveyed. Thus, the 1998 prediction of the author that rigid lenses – also referred to as ‘rigid gas permeable’ (RGP) lenses or ‘gas permeable’ (GP) lenses – would be obsolete by the year 2010 has essentially turned out to be correct. In this obituary, the author offers 10 reasons for the demise of rigid lens fitting: initial rigid lens discomfort; intractable rigid lens-induced corneal and lid pathology; extensive soft lens advertising; superior soft lens fitting logistics; lack of rigid lens training opportunities; redundancy of the rigid lens ‘problem solver’ function; improved soft toric and bifocal/varifocal lenses; limited uptake of orthokeratology; lack of investment in rigid lenses; and the emergence of aberration control soft lenses. Rigid lenses are now being fitted by a minority of practitioners with specialist skills/training. Certainly, rigid lenses can no longer be considered as a mainstream form of contact lens correction. May their dear souls (bulk properties) rest in peace.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Contact Lens and Anterior Eye
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Efron N.
        This expert predicts the demise of RGPs by the year 2010 (Advert).
        Optician. 1998; 216: 15
      1. Efron N. Contact lens predictions. Snapshot 1. Where are we going? 2000–2001 Contact lenses. Supplement to Australian Optometry 2000; October: 2–3.

        • Efron N.
        The demise of rigid contact lenses.
        Optom Today. 2001; 41: 22-25
        • Edwards K.
        • Hough T.
        Fear and loathing in Surfers’ Paradise. On the demise of rigid contact lenses—a critique.
        Optom Today. 2001; : 16-19
        • Bell D.
        American trends in the contact lens industry.
        Global Contact. 2005; 39: 15-18
        • Saks A.P.
        Our mate Nate?.
        Global Contact. 2005; 41: 23-24
        • van der Worp E.
        The status of the RGP contact lens in 2005.
        Global Contact. 2005; 41: 30-36
        • Hoffman W.C.
        RGP material developments in the next 5 years.
        Global Contact. 2005; 41: 42-44
        • de Vries I.
        Letter to the editor.
        Global Contact. 2006; 42: 6
        • Albers W.
        Nathan Efron is right!.
        Global Contact. 2006; 42: 24
        • Bennett E.
        Running scared.
        Global Contact. 2006; 42: 26-27
        • Efron N.
        Contact lens practice and a very soft option.
        Clin Exp Optom. 2000; 83: 243-245
        • Ezekiel D.F.
        Rigid lenses will remain.
        Clin Exp Optom. 2000; 83: 337-338
        • Woods C.
        • Bruce A.
        • Dowling A.
        Market share will not diminish.
        Clin Exp Optom. 2000; 83: 338-339
        • Efron N.
        Predicting, not wishing, virtual demise of RGPs.
        Clin Exp Optom. 2000; 83: 339
        • Bennett E.
        In defence of rigid contact lenses.
        Clin Exp Optom. 2001; 84: 43-44
        • Efron N.
        Efron holds his belief (Letter to the Editor).
        Clin Exp Optom. 2001; 84: 44-45
        • Efron N.
        The desperate last gasps of rigid contact lenses.
        Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2005; 33: 341-342
        • Morgan P.B.
        • Efron N.
        A decade of contact lens prescribing trends in the United Kingdom (1996–2005).
        Contact Lens Ant Eye. 2006; 29: 59-68
        • Morgan P.B.
        • Efron N.
        The evolution of rigid contact lens prescribing.
        Contact Lens Ant Eye. 2008; 31: 213-214
        • Morgan P.B.
        Trends in UK contact lens prescribing 2008.
        Optician. 2008; 235: 18-19
        • Morgan P.B.
        Trends in UK contact lens prescribing 2009.
        Optician. 2009; 238: 20-21
        • Morgan P.B.
        Trends in UK contact lens prescribing 2010.
        Optician. 2010; 239: 34-35
        • Efron N.
        • Morgan P.B.
        • Helland M.
        • Itoi M.
        • Jones D.
        • Nichols J.J.
        • et al.
        International rigid contact lens prescribing.
        Contact Lens Ant Eye. 2010; 33: 141-143
        • Morgan P.B.
        • Woods C.A.
        • Tranoudis I.G.
        • Helland M.
        • Efron N.
        • Knajian R.
        • et al.
        International contact lens prescribing in 2009.
        Contact Lens Spectr. 2010; 25: 30-36
        • Bowden T.J.
        Developments in the UK.
        in: Bowden T.J. Contact lenses. The story. Bower House Publications, Kent2009: 310
        • Atkinson T.C.O.
        Farewell to hard times?.
        Ophthal Optician. 1976; 16: 919-937
        • Pearson R.
        Contact lens trends in the United Kingdom in 1991.
        J Brit Contact Lens Assoc. 1992; 15: 17-23
        • Fonn D.
        • Gauthier C.A.
        • Pritchard N.
        Patient preferences and comparative ocular responses to rigid and soft contact lenses.
        Optom Vis Sci. 1995; 72: 857-863
        • Morgan P.B.
        • Maldonado-Codina C.
        • Efron N.
        Comfort response to rigid and soft hypertransmissible contact lenses used for continuous wear.
        Eye Contact Lens. 2003; 29: 127-130
        • Bennett E.S.
        • Smythe J.
        • Henry V.A.
        • Bassi C.J.
        • Morgan B.W.
        • Miller W.
        • et al.
        Effect of topical anesthetic use on initial patient satisfaction and overall success with rigid gas permeable contact lenses.
        Optom Vis Sci. 1998; 75: 800-805
        • Kogan A.K.
        GP industry update.
        Spectrum. 2006; : 32-33
        • La Hood D.
        Edge shape and comfort of rigid lenses.
        Am J Optom Physiol Opt. 1988; 65: 613-618
        • Efron N.
        Sports vision correction with contact lenses.
        in: Loran D.F.C. MacEwen C.J. Sports vision. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford1995: 127-147
        • Stapleton F.
        • Keay L.
        • Edwards K.
        • Naduvilath T.
        • Dart J.K.
        • Brian G.
        • et al.
        The incidence of contact lens-related microbial keratitis in Australia.
        Ophthalmology. 2008; 115: 1655-1662
        • Szczotka-Flynn L.
        • Ahmadian R.
        • Diaz M.
        A re-evaluation of the risk of microbial keratitis from overnight contact lens wear compared with other life risks.
        Eye Contact Lens. 2009; 35: 69-75
        • Efron N.
        Contact lens complications.
        2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2004
        • Efron N.
        Stromal thinning.
        Contact lens complications. 2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2004 (pp. 141–147)
        • Efron N.
        Endothelial polymegethism.
        Contact lens complications. 2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2004 (pp. 216–222)
        • Covey M.
        • Sweeney D.F.
        • Terry R.
        • Sankaridurg P.R.
        • Holden BA
        Hypoxic effects on the anterior eye of high-Dk soft contact lens wearers are negligible.
        Optom Vis Sci. 2001; 78: 95-99
        • Efron N.
        • Morgan P.B.
        • Cameron I.D.
        • Brennan N.A.
        • Goodwin M.
        Oxygen permeability and water content of silicone hydrogel contact lens materials.
        Optom Vis Sci. 2007; 84: 328-337
        • Efron N.
        Eyelid ptosis.
        Contact lens complications. 2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2004 (pp. 19–26)
        • van den Bosch W.A.
        • Lemij H.G.
        Blepharoptosis induced by prolonged hard contact lens wear.
        Ophthalmology. 1992; 99: 1759-1765
        • van der Worp E.
        • de Brabander J.
        • Swarbrick H.A.
        • Hendrikse F.
        Evaluation of signs and symptoms in 3- and 9-o’clock staining.
        Optom Vis Sci. 2009; 86: 260-265
        • van der Worp E.
        • De Brabander J.
        • Swarbrick H.
        • Nuijts R.
        • Hendrikse F.
        Corneal desiccation in rigid contact lens wear: 3- and 9-o’clock staining.
        Optom Vis Sci. 2003; 80: 280-290
        • Nichols J.J.
        Contact lenses 2008.
        Spectrum. 2009; : 1-5
        • Tanner J.
        Planned soft lens replacement.
        Contact lens complications. 2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2010 (pp. 217–224)
        • Efron N.
        Contact lens practice.
        2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2010
        • Gill F.R.
        • Murphy C.
        • Purslow C.
        Negative practitioner attitudes hinder gas permeable lens prescribing.
        Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008; 49 ([E-Abstract]): 4859
        • Pearson R.M.
        A review of the limitations of the first hydrogel contact lenses.
        Clin Exp Optom. 2010; 93: 15-25
        • Kerr C.
        • Ruston D.
        The ACLM Contact Lens Year Book 2010.
        The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers, Wiltshire2010
        • Winterton L.C.
        • Lally J.M.
        • Sentell K.B.
        • Chapoy L.L.
        The elution of poly (vinyl alcohol) from a contact lens: the realization of a time release moisturizing agent/artificial tear.
        J Biomed Mater Res B: Appl Biomater. 2007; 80: 424-432
        • Morgan P.B.
        • Efron N.
        Prescribing soft contact lenses for astigmatism.
        Contact Lens Ant Eye. 2009; 32: 97-98
        • Lindsay R.
        Rigid toric lens design and fitting.
        in: Efron N. Contact lens practice. 2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2010: 190-196
        • Carney L.G.
        Orthokeratology.
        in: Efron N. Contact lens practice. 2nd edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford2010: 332-338
        • Kwok L.S.
        • Pierscionek B.K.
        • Bullimore M.
        • Swarbrick H.A.
        • Mountford J.
        • Sutton G.
        Orthokeratology for myopic children: wolf in sheep's clothing?.
        Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2005; 33: 343-347
        • Watt K.G.
        • Swarbrick H.A.
        Trends in microbial keratitis associated with orthokeratology.
        Eye Contact Lens. 2007; 33: 373-377
        • Woods C.A.
        • Efron N.
        Regular replacement of rigid contact lenses alleviates binding to the cornea.
        Int Contact Lens Clin. 1996; 23: 13-18
        • Woods C.A.
        • Efron N.
        Regular replacement of daily-wear rigid gas-permeable contact lenses.
        J Br Contact Lens Assoc. 1996; 19: 83-89
        • Yuen L.H.
        • Chan W.K.
        • Koh J.
        • Mehta J.S.
        • Tan D.T.
        • SingLasik Research Group
        A 10-year prospective audit of LASIK outcomes for myopia in 37,932 eyes at a single institution in Asia.
        Ophthalmology. 2010; 117: 1236-1244
        • Vryghem J.C.
        • Devogelaere T.
        • Stodulka P.
        Efficacy, safety, and flap dimensions of a new femtosecond laser for laser in situ keratomileusis.
        J Cataract Refract Surg. 2010; 36: 442-448
        • Kennedy R.H.
        • Bourne W.M.
        • Dyer J.A.
        A 48-year clinical and epidemiological study of keratoconus.
        Am J Ophthalmol. 1986; 101: 267-273
        • Population estimates
        Office for national statistics.
        2010 (Accessed at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=6, viewed June 16, 2010)
        • Morgan P.B.
        Taking stock of the UK market.
        Optician. 2009; 238: 36-38
        • Chen M.
        • Sabesan R.
        • Ahmad K.
        • Yoon G.
        Correcting anterior corneal aberration and variability of lens movements in keratoconic eyes with back-surface customized soft contact lenses.
        Opt Lett. 2007; 32: 3203-3205
        • Marsack J.D.
        • Parker K.E.
        • Applegate R.A.
        Performance of wavefront-guided soft lenses in three keratoconus subjects.
        Optom Vis Sci. 2008; 85: 1172-1178
        • Marsack J.D.
        • Parker K.E.
        • Niu Y.
        • Pesudovs K.
        • Applegate R.A.
        On-eye performance of custom wavefront-guided soft contact lenses in a habitual soft lens-wearing keratoconic patient.
        J Refract Surg. 2007; 23: 960-964

      Linked Article

      • A response to Nathan Efron
        Contact Lens and Anterior EyeVol. 34Issue 3
        • Preview
          I was interested to read Nathan Efron's obituary of hard lenses in the October 2010 issue of CLAE. I am happy to agree with most of his excellent analysis concerning their demise but, unlike the dead parrot, I am tempted recall instead Mark Twain's comment that the news of [their] death is greatly exaggerated as well asking in the spirit of Monty Python whether the good Professor would prefer a long argument or a short argument?
        • Full-Text
        • PDF