If you’ve had astigmatism for a while, you may be familiar with the potential difficulties that this condition presents. For example, many years ago toric soft contact lenses, which are the type of soft contacts designed for people with astigmatism, were often less comfortable than they are today, and the vision was sometimes blurry. Over time, the technology has improved and lens designs have been developed to be more rotationally stable on the eye and thinner, which helped patients’ eyes feel and see better. If you’ve been wearing one of these newer toric contact lenses, you may have enjoyed several years of comfortable lens wear and clear vision. Nonetheless, if you are now age 40 or older and are starting to develop problems seeing things clearly for near vision, a new set of challenges may be setting in due to presbyopia.
Having both presbyopia and astigmatism may have meant your contact lens wearing days might have come to an end. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case.
Astigmatism refers to the shape or curvature of your eye. Ideally, your eye should be spherical, but if you have astigmatism, your eye is more oval/egg shaped. This toric shape prevents light from focusing properly on your retina, causing vision to blur and making it harder to see objects up close and far away.
While all of this may sound daunting, don’t let the name of this condition scare you off: astigmatism is not a “stigma.” In fact, it is common. Astigmatic eyes with a cylinder of at least −0.75DC are found in roughly 41% of the population.1
Beginning around age 40, an individual may begin to become presbyopic - and the eye can no longer focus on close up objects. This is a natural part of the aging process in which the crystalline lens inside your eye becomes less flexible, causing you to lose the ability to focus on objects up close. If you have trouble with small newspaper print or with reading menus in dim lighting, presbyopia is likely to blame.
As with most other vision problems, presbyopia is routinely corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Multifocal contact lenses are made specifically for people who have presbyopia. They contain multiple zones of vision correction instead of just one, which allows both your eyes to work together so you can see things both up-close and at a distance with just one lens. However, contact lenses made for people with both astigmatism and presbyopia didn’t always exist. Fortunately, that has now changed and there are options available in soft contact lenses to correct both astigmatism and presbyopia.
You Can Have It All
CooperVision offers a diverse range of options, designed to meet your individual vision requirements. You can now get toric multifocal soft contact lenses. For example, Biofinity® toric multifocal, is now available. The lens uses a silicone hydrogel material which are a healthy* alternative to hydrogel contact lenses as they allow plenty of oxygen to pass through to your corneas.
So, if you have astigmatism and your vision isn’t as good as it used to be, don’t despair. Promising innovation to manage both astigmatism and presbyopia has occurred in recent years. So, talk to your eye doctor about healthy, convenient options that may work best for you.
* With higher oxygen permeability than hydrogel materials, silicone hydrogel contact lenses minimize or eliminate hypoxia-related signs and symptoms during lens wear. [Claim: MKTCL01257].
1. Luensmann D, Schaeffer JL, Reeves SW, Rumney NJ, Stanberry A, Walsh K, Jones L, Spectacle prescriptions review to determine prevalence of ametropia and coverage of frequent replacement soft toric contact lenses. Contact Lens & Anterior Eye. 2018;41(5):412-420.