Person inserting contact lens

Understanding Astigmatism

Astigmatism refers to the shape or curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens1. Ideally, your corneal surface should be completely spherical1,2. But if you have astigmatism, your eye is more oblong1,2. This prevents light from focusing properly on your retina, causing your vision to blur whether you’re trying to see objects up close or far away1,2.

Astigmatism can be present alongside other refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).

How Do Contact Lenses Correct Astigmatism?

Imagine that the front surface of your eye looked like the face of a clock. For each pie-shaped slice of the clock, you have meridians. A specific kind of contact lens, called a toric lens, works by applying different prescription lens powers to these different meridians to address your eye’s toroidal, or somewhat irregular shape.

The challenge that contact lens manufacturers historically struggled with was how to keep the various optical powers of each meridian of the toric lens in the right place. If the lens moves around too much, you won’t be able to maintain clear and stable vision. Several strategies have been applied over the years with varying degrees of success.

Contact Lens Options for Astigmatism

For many generations, the complexity of toric lens design limited contact lens options for people with astigmatism. In fact, many years ago, if you wanted to wear contact lenses for astigmatism, you would have to wear hard lenses, also known as “rigid gas permeable lenses.” But today there are several soft toric contact lenses in a wide range of prescriptions to fit all sorts of eyes. 

Soft torics are also now available in a variety of materials and replacement schedules, including silicone hydrogel daily disposables. Historically, silicone hydrogel was the go-to material for monthly and 2-week lens wearers, but it wasn’t available in daily disposable brands. Recently, however, 1-day toric fits on patients increased by 35%3.

Things are looking up for those who do have astigmatism and would like to wear soft contact lenses. If you have astigmatism and weren’t happy with your contact lens choices in the past, it may be time to reconsider. Call your doctor to find out about CooperVision’s toric lens portfolio, which is the most prescribed in the U.S.4 In fact, Biofinity toric is the #1 most prescribed toric lens on the market5, and MyDay toric gives you the same optical design features of Biofinity toric in a daily disposable lens.

1. Boyd K. What Is astigmatism? Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Aug. 5, 2022. Accessed June 12. 2023.

2. Read SA, Vincent SJ, Collins MJ. The visual and functional impacts of astigmatism and its clinical management. Ophthalmic Physiol Optom. 2014 May;34(3):267-94.

3. CVI data on file. 2022.  US industry reports and internal estimates.

4. CVI data on file, 2019-2021. Based on number of US soft contact lens fits. Includes FRP and 1 day CooperVision branded and customer-branded equivalent lenses. US industry reports and internal estimates.

5. CVI data on file, 2021. US industry reports and internal estimates.

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendation of a medical professional.  For specific questions, please see your Eye Care Practitioner.

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