Contact lenses for astigmatism have come a long way in recent years. It wasn’t so long ago that you would have been told at your eye appointment your only option for astigmatism was rigid gas permeable (“hard”) contact lenses. Now, not only can you get soft contact lenses for astigmatism, you can also get them in daily disposable, multifocal, and frequent replacement varieties. Read on to help decide which lens is right for you:
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a very common condition in which the curvature of the cornea or lens of the eye is more like the oblong shape of a football than round like a basketball which prevents light from focusing properly on the retina. This causes vision to blur with both near and far objects. It often occurs with other refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). While it is possible to develop astigmatism from an eye injury, it is usually present from birth and can change over time.
What are Toric Contact Lenses?
All contact lenses for astigmatism, whether they’re GP or soft, are called "toric” lenses. The name comes from the unique shape of the lens. While a typical contact lens has a spherical shape much like a slice of a ball, a toric lens has the shape of a slice off a football. This particular shape allows for different optical powers at different points.
Fitting Toric Lenses
Since patients with astigmatism need different optical powers to line up with specific points of the eye, toric contact lenses must be oriented in precisely the right way. There are different ways in which manufacturers keep toric lenses from spinning around. Some use thin-thick zones, some cut off the bottom of the lens a bit. CooperVision lenses use Optimized Lens Geometry which is a uniform lens thickness to quickly orient and stabilize the lens.
Choosing the Right Toric Lens for You
Having astigmatism no longer restricts your choices in contact lenses. There are toric lenses that address other visual corrections like presbyopia. A good choice for this type of lens is the Proclear multifocal toric lens. There are also lenses for extended wear schedules like the Biofinity toric lens. Discuss your lifestyle and preferences with your eye doctor to determine which lens is the best fit for you. Contact your eye doctor today.