Dr. Desmond Fonn is a well-recognized and respected figure within the contact lens industry. The University of Waterloo bestowed the honor of “Distinguished Professor Emeritus” to Dr. Fonn in June 2012 in recognition of his research and work to the university and academic community.

At CooperVision, we are thrilled to share an article that Dr. Fonn has provided to us exclusively. The subject is on astigmatism and toric soft contacts. (You can read Dr. Fonn’s article here on our blog that’s geared to eye care professionals.)

Since Dr. Fonn’s article is written for eye doctors, we wanted to provide you with its findings in a manner that the rest of us would find more digestible to the layperson. After all, the information contained within it is extremely interesting.

Essentially, Dr. Fonn says that if you have refractive astigmatism, and you would rather wear contact lenses instead of glasses, eye doctors should fit you with toric soft lenses. (By “fit” here, we mean the process of an eye doctor examining your eyes and finding the right lenses for your prescription.)

So let’s break this statement down:
“Refractive astigmatism” refers to the refractive visual blurriness you get from a cornea or lens that’s stretched into an irregular shape (think: more like a football instead of a basketball).

This causes a refractive error, or a distorting of light as it enters your eyes. Because of this, nearly everything you see—near or far—may appear slightly blurry depending upon how much distortion you’re experiencing.

Dr. Fonn goes on to say that soft lenses provide superior comfort, which is naturally what everyone wants. This makes sense. So where is the problem?

Toric contact lenses must be “fitted,” in industry parlance, so that they are oriented the right way to correct your individual vision needs. This is often done by providing “thin thick” zones in the lens, so that the bottom is heavier than the top. This helps gravity pull the thicker part of the lens down for the correct orientation.

In his summary, Dr. Fonn says, “As the average thickness of toric lenses is influenced by the by prism ballast or periballast and therefore increased thickness in parts of the lens, the oxygen transmissibility may be compromised and this will almost always be negated by the use of silicone hydrogel materials.”

Here, he’s referencing the lens stabilizing we just covered. This increased thickness in the lens could affect the ease at which oxygen can pass through the lenses. This is important because your corneas get their oxygen straight from the air around us. Unlike our other body tissues, the cornea contains no blood vessels to deliver needed oxygen.

However, silicone hydrogel lenses can help provide excellent oxygen transmissibility. (This is measured in their “Dk” value, often written as “Dk/t,” if your eye doctor should mention it to you.) Since silicone hydrogel lenses tend to offer a higher rate of oxygen transmission (there’s our “Dk/t” number) than standard hydrogel contacts, this would negate the increased thickness at the bottom of the soft toric lenses.

Simply put, you would have your “contact lens comfort” cake and eat it, too—and that’s always a good thing.

We invite you to read the entire article by Dr. Fonn here. If you have any questions or would like to comment, please feel free to do so below!


Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.


[1] Dr. Desmond Fonn receives the honour of Distinguished Professor Emeritus
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Avaira contact lenses

Avaira family

Two-week replacement schedule, Soft and flexible for a variety of needs, Silicone hydrogel material + UV blocking*, Naturally wettable so you're less likely to need additional wetting drops
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Biofinity family

Monthly replacement schedule, Lenses stay moist and comfortable, Naturally wettable so you're less likely to need additional wetting drops
clariti 1 day contacts

clariti 1 day contacts

Convenient daily replacement schedule, The healthy advantages of silicone hydrogel lenses, Vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia, Supports excellent all-day comfort, UVA and UVB protection*
Proclear contact lenses

Proclear Family

Convenient daily disposable contact lenses, Superior aspheric optic design for optimal visual sharpness, Maintain 96% hydration - even after 12 hours of wear, Designed to address discomfort from eyes


I am reading alot of complaints that your toric lenses are tearing easily, sometimes while in the eye. For the price if a lens tears in one or two days and is supposed to last a month and so many people are having this problem there seems to be a problem with your product. This disappoints me because all the reviews I've read say your product is the most comfortable toric lens but the least durable which makes the already pricey XR version more expensive and not a financially feasiable option. Is your company aware of this issue and if so is something being done to correct it? With so many people having premature tearing I don't think you can say it is a handling problem as some of these people are 20+ year contact wearers who have plenty experience with proper handling of contacts and you have to admit there is a problem here. Does your company replace prematurely tearing lenses? I have read reviews where someone had two different prescriptions for each eye and one entire box for one eye teared prematurely and the other box didn't. That is clear evidence there is a problem with the product. Please email me with a response as I really would like to try your product. My email address is jasoncollins1201975@gmail.com.

Hi Jason:
Thank you for your feedback. We have sent it along to our team and if you have any further questions, please contact our consumer care group at CC@CVLens.com

Hello, I would like to corroborate Jason's testimonial. I have been trying to wear Proclear XR lenses for over a year now. For the first year, I did not really experience any tearing, but in the past month or, all of a sudden the tearing is incredibly frequent. In the last month alone, I believe I have had 4 pairs tear. One of those 4 times, a lens tore while still on my eye, and it was incredibly difficult to remove. Proclear XR lenses are indeed the most comfortable I have ever worn, but unfortunately they have become far too fragile. The lenses are also incredibly expensive compared to other brands of lenses, and so it just doesn't seem to be worth it. I hope you manage a way to make the lenses more durable.

Hi RP: Thanks for reaching out to us. We have sent your feedback along to our team and if you have any further questions, please contact our consumer care group at CC@CVLens.com. We kindly ask that you retain your lenses so that we can inspect them if necessary.

I have a tearing problem with CooperVision Pro Clear XR Toric lenses. I go through a box in less than a month. (They are supposed to last a mont a piece not a day.) The last 2 lenses tore the first day. One was still in my eye. I have dry eyes and a +7 prescription. I have cut off my finger nails. Have you a solution? PLEASE!

I have had the same issue and when i contacted CooperVision they told me to go back to my eye doctor. They provided me with a case # and now my eye doctor won't get back to me. Cooper vision, my case # is CC242932. These contacts are too expensive to keep ordering.

I have been wearing toric lenses for 10 years and I just got these and three lenses tore in a 2 week period. I will contact the email you have provided for others as well as my own eye doc but I wanted to post here because there is obviously a problem with these lenses that people need to know about.

I am having the same problem with the Proclear Toric lenses tearing. In two weeks I have had two tear while in my eye and one fall apart as I was rinsing it to put it in my eye. I have worn soft lenses since 1984 and have had a torn lens four times in all those years. I have been wearing Cooper Vision Frequency 55 Toric lenses and it has never happened. My optometrist's staff is saying there is nothing they can do.

I have a Frequency 55 toric lens in my left eye which easily lasts the full month and has not caused me problems. I recently changed from a GP lens in my right eye (after 30 years of wearing them, my "older" eyes are drying out and not tolerating them anymore) and was given a Proclear sphere lens. I have now ripped two of them within the first two weeks. They are so fragile, and I am very careful with them. After 30 years I am obviously and experience contact lens user! I plan to call my ophthalmologist and see if I can switch brands, this is going to get too expensive and I will use up the one box way before the other.

I just received a trial last week of these ProClear toric contacts lenses and I wasn't even able to get the contact lense in my eye before it tore. I've been wearing contacts for 8 years and have never had this happen. I thought that I just received a faulty lense until I came across this forum, Glad I did, I was about to order a year supply tomorrow, seeing how the other contact lens feels great. What a shame...

I am glad to read these comments. I am a long time contact wearer, but trying a trial pair of Cooper Vision toric lenses. The right lens tore in my eye on the third day of use. It is hard to justify the expense with this track record. Very disappointing since my vision was quite clear with these lenses. Go back to the drawing board,
Cooper Vision.

I have just purchased 3 month supply of these lenses after trying lots lenses. I have started wearing my first pair on Tuesday and today is Sunday and i found them torn when I took them out of the solution! They were intact when i placed them in the solution in the evening. They were supposed to last a month! I'm very disappointed and will take them ASAP to the opticians I ordered from! What a waste of money and time! Hope will get my money back!

I've been using the Proclear toric lenses in my right eye and the non-toric ones in my left eye for a few years. When my eye doctor ordered a new six-month supply of lenses recently it took three weeks, instead of the usual two, for the right lenses to arrive and instead of a box of six there was just one sample. It was very thin, uncomfortable to wear and it ripped the first time I tried cleaning it. Meanwhile my eye doctor reordered a box of six, and they arrived after two weeks and they were just like the sample. They were very thin, they wouldn't form a proper bowl shape on my finger and they'd fold in half, and it would take a long time to get them unfolded. After two weeks when I was putting the first one in my eye I saw it was ripped, so I put it a new one, and that afternoon it ripped in half in my eye. I tried putting in a third one and it was folded in half and I was unable to get it completely unfolded. So I gave up on them, my doctor ordered new ones and I'm back to wearing glasses until they arrive. The new ones better not be defective and I better not be expected to pay for them. I'm also sending this information to CC@CVLens.com.

I'm Just wondering if there has been any changes in this brand of lenses in 2014, I have been wearing them for 10plus years and the new ones I have just purchased feel a lot different and very uncomfortable even with out any prescription change.

came across this fkrum while loking to reorder proclear toric lenses for my son. These were very expensive and a six month supply has lasted him less than 3 because of tearing. Seems lots of people have tbe same problem Obviously your product is not a 30 day lenses and SHOULD NOT BE LABELED MARKETED AND PRICED AS SUCH.!! It does not appear cooper visionis willing to address this issue as. it seems to be ongoing

My partner is a 30+ year contact lens wearer with no problems historically - but in the last six months since being switched to these lenses she has had three - that is three - events in which these contacts tore apart tear while in her eye! The first time we had to go to the Accident and Emergency Eye Dept at the Lister Hospital to get the pieces removed. They told her that her cornea had been scratched in the process. The second time I managed to get the two ripped halves out. A few days ago it happened again and today she woke up with acute pain in her left eye. We went straight to the ophthalmologists who diagnosed a corneal ulcer!! This occurs when abrasions of the cornea become infected and can potentially be extremely serious - she is now on prescription antibiotic eye drops!! Needless to say we are EXTREMELY UNHAPPY - their is clearly a serious manufacturing defect with this lens and this company is lucky we are not taking legal action for damages. I expect someone to contact me regarding this situation - my email is bronwyn.parry@kcl.ac.uk. Be warned!!

2 weeks ago, at my eye appointment, I decided to try Proclear multifocal toric contacts. Got a sample pair and my right one didn't feel right by the time I got home. Took it out and it was torn. Got a replacement. That one lasted 3 days. Glad I didn't buy there. Went back to old pair. Too bad as they were very comfortable and my vision was great.

I just ordered in new lenses - hopeing the issue of ripping was fixed - but within 2 days - the lenses ripped - leaving pieces in my eye - I done the Proclear!!!

I had a box (6) of Proclear Toric lenses. Every single one for my left eye was either torn when they arrived or tore within a week of wearing. They all tore in the same spot. There are three lines on the contact for that eye, and the tear was along the right line up to the middle of the contact. I called customer service and was told there is nothing they can do for me. That is ridiculous.

I received a trial pair of these lenses. Had one tear while it was in my eye (my wife had to fish out the torn portion....it was very uncomfortable). I got a 2nd pair and....within 1 1/2 weeks, another one tore. I would never buy these contacts.

I was using these lenses for about a year and everything was fine - one tear within a year, but suddenly I have gone through half a box in a week. Needless to say this is completely rubbish. I was satisfied before but now I will change to another brand!

I've worn contacts since the early 70s and soft contacts for more than 20 years, so I thought that I knew how to handle contacts. But the CooperVision multifocal toric lenses are fragile beyond all reasonableness. I did a trial, and have yet to manage to keep a lens intact for more than 3 days. At $20 or so per lens, that works out to about $5K/year for contacts if I were to keep wearing them. I think that CooperVision has to rethink and revise the design of these lenses, and that we consumers should raise the problems with groups that can have more impact on the company than we can as individuals.

My doctor ordered these as a trial due to my astigmatism limiting the types of contacts I can wear. When I first put these in I was amazed at how comfortable they were. I've been wearing contacts for almost 15 years and these were the most comfortable. However after 1.5 weeks my left contact ripped in my eye and I struggled to get the 3 peices out. My doctor kindly ordered another trial for my left eye. They are special order for my fit so it took a couple of weeks. I got the new one and went on a cruise, this one ripped within a week as well. Same left eye and ripped in 3 peices again...I was stuck on a cruise reluctant to go to the medic and had no other lenses to wear. Luckily my daughter has perfect vision and was able to get the ripped peices out. But I was stuck with horrible vision in my left eye for the rest of the trip. Went to my doctor today and he is going to order another brand for me to try. But will take a couple weeks again. It's a shame because these really were very comfortable. I am interested if the manufacturer has a solution to this problem. Email address is mjjohnson7328@aol.com

I started wearing the Multifocal Toric about 3 weeks ago. I have gone through two pairs in that period. Both have ripped. I had to go to the eye doctor to find the small piece lost in my eye. My doctor said he hadn't received any complaints so I decided to go online to see if anyone else had this problem.
I just got my order for six pairs. I wish I read these reviews before I did that. It seems the problem has been going on since 2013.

I'm so glad I came across this comment board. I, too, have had the tearing problem with these lens even after following my doctors' instructions to the letter in addition to years of contact experience with other brands. These lenses weren't cheap, either. This product needs to be improved!

Just want to corroboate on these stories here. I've gone through 3 lenses in a 6 day period. Somehow, the lenses are tearing simply sitting in the saline overnight. I don't understand! When I pull them out, they're totally fine. Definitely a bummer since I pay so much for these.

I have been using Cooper Torics for over 10 years and just ordered my new prescription. I've had my contacts for two days and one ripped in my eye. That has NEVER happened to me before. What is going on with your product? These are extremely expensive contacts and I cannot afford to replace them.

I have been wearing contacts since 1990. I just recently opened up a new box of proclear torics, and have experienced two torn contacts within the same week. That's more torn contacts than in the past 20 years. I have worn proclears for the past 15 years and this has never happened. What is going on? Please contact me at jwon42@ucla.edu on what you're doing to resolve this, or you will be losing a long time customer.

My overall exprience with Proclear Toric has been horrific. I cannot wait for my next eye exam to switch back to Frequecy Toric. I have never had problem with contact lenses ripping apart inside my eyes. It's a scary experience, especially when this happens while you are driving. What's supposed to be a six month's supply, only lasts 2.5-3 months for me. So dissapointing

contact lense wearer since 1986, hands down worst and most expensive lenses ever!!! Take the product off the market til you fix it!!! Too expensive to replace and absolutely no help from customer service. spent $300 for six month supply and in out of contacts in 2 months!

I have been wearing contact lenses for over two decades & I have NEVER had a case of torn lenses. This year, I started using Coopervision; I loved the feel when I started wearing them- soft and comfortable. Wish the company had paid attention to the durability of the lenses. For the first time in over 20 years, I have had my lenses tearing out- a year supply has lasted for just four months. I will never use Coopervision again.

Hey Coopervision, what's going on? I have worn these lenses for several years. In the last 2 years, it seems that the quality control has gone way downhill. The lenses used to be thicker. My last few batches - I bought a years supply and then 2 set of 6 mos worth - at least 30% tear before their month is out. I can usually tell as soon as I take them out of the new case. Sometimes a lense shrivels up like a dead spider on the end of my finger and I know it's not going to last the month out. The thing is, it's not consistent, even in the same batch. Are you guys aware of the problem and working on it?

Richard Vaughn, Ocoee, FL

Before reading these comments, I thought I was merely having bad luck. I was very excited to try this brand because I heard they were very comfortable for dry eyes, which I have. I also have astigmatism in my right eye, which also poses an issue. I tried the biofinity, which didn't help with the dryness. Went on to try the pro-clear, first day was great.. much better than previous trials. Second day, go to put my RIGHT astigmatism eye (this is important to note) and there is a huge piece missing. Mind you, I do not have long nails. Sad day. So my doctor ordered another trial pair, picked them up yesterday and today would be my first day in my second trial pair. Put the left in, no problem. Put the RIGHT in.. and immediately everything is blurry. I then remembered seeing 3 notches on the lense, and thought maybe the weighted end was off, so I will wear them for a few minutes and let it settle. 10 minutes go by, and I still cannot see out of my eye. Go to the bathroom to remove the lense to see if I somehow put it in wrong (it went in straight out of the trial container), and low-and behold, ANOTHER chunk missing! Pretty sure it was where the notches were. I am VERY disappointed that I have to keep searching. I don't want to take the risk of another pair ripping inside my eye.
I would not mind an email from the Coopervision team explaining why the product doesn't compare to the price we pay for them. I could understand a $12/box pair, but for $30+.. no thank you.

Like everyone else's my husbands contacts have been tearing much too frequently. Tonight I had to get the other half out of his eye for him and it's something I've never seen before. I too, wear contacts and have for over 10 years and have never seen this happen. It makes me furious that this problem is still going on. My husband is a police officer so what's he going to do when he's driving 100mph trying to get to a call to save someone's life and his contact decides to rip?! I am encouraging him to switch to a different brand and I suggest everyone else to too. Ginnevb@gmail.com

My eye doctor switched me to biofinity due to astigmatism. And its only been 2 months and I already exhausted my 6 months supply. That contact lens keeps ripping and its makes my eyes dry. I expect better quality due to the price but I am so wrong. This contact lens is so fragile and delicate. I am switching brand. Not worth it.

Like most of the comments, I wear contacts easily...easy in easy out. BUT Proclear lenses give me better vision and feel great... Indeed I have to be careful not to use rewetting drops too much as they stay in place better largely ignored. BUT, I have a terrible time getting them in without tearing. Often my eyelid seems to push them out and then they fold or tear. Any suggestions? Is there a technique to get them under the upper eyelid until they settle? Have never had this problem before. I really want to be able to wear them.... But I can't afford the money, time or aggravation. Is there a secret way to insert them?

I have been experiencing the same problem as other wearers. After only a few days the lenses tear. I have been wearing lenses for25 years and not experienced a problem of this kind before. I need a Mulrifocal Toric to correct my vision. Does anyone know another brand I can use instead of these.

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