Contact Lenses for Astigmatism

Last updated on April 4th, 2017 at 02:54 am

Frequently, individuals incorrectly think they can’t wear contact lenses because they have astigmatism. The truth is, today there are lots of excellent choices for remedying astigmatism with contact lenses.

Contact lenses for astigmatism have actually come a long method over the last few years. It wasn’t so long ago that you would have been informed at your eye consultation your only alternative for astigmatism was stiff gas permeable (“hard”) contact lenses. Now, not just can you get soft contact lenses for astigmatism, you can also get them in day-to-day disposable, multifocal, and regular replacement ranges.

Best Contact Lenses for Astigmatism

Here are the main types of contact lenses for astigmatism, in order of present appeal in the United States:

Toric Contact Lenses

The term “toric contact lenses” typically is used to describe specifically designed soft contact lenses that correct astigmatism. The majority of toric contacts for astigmatism are certainly soft lenses– made either of a standard hydrogel material or a highly breathable silicone hydrogel. However there are toric contact lenses made of rigid gas permeable (GP) contact lens products, too.

Toric soft contact lenses for astigmatism vary from routine (” spherical”) soft contacts that fix only myopia or hyperopia in two important methods:

  1. Toric lenses have various powers in different meridians of the lens to remedy the varying amount of nearsightedness or farsightedness in different meridians of the eye that identifies astigmatism.
  2. Toric lenses have a design function that allows the lens to turn to the proper orientation on the cornea so the power meridians of the lens align with the appropriate meridians of the eye for clear vision.

Since every eye with astigmatism is distinct, it can take more than one set of soft toric contact lenses to find the brand name and style that provides the best fit, convenience and visual acuity. Likewise, fitting toric contact lenses for astigmatism takes more competence than fitting regular soft lenses. For these reasons, getting fitted with toric contact lenses generally costs more than a regular contact lens exam and fitting.

Also, due to the fact that they have a more complex style, the cost of replacement toric contact lenses is higher than the cost of regular (spherical) soft contacts. The distinction in cost will depend upon the lens design, lens material, and the optical merchant you buy them from.

Best Contact Lenses for Astigmatism

Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Other popular contact lenses for astigmatism correction are rigid gas permeable contact lenses (also called RGP or GP contact lenses).

In many cases, GP contact lenses can remedy astigmatism without a toric design. This is possible since gas permeable lenses are stiff and keep their spherical shape on the eye, instead of complying with the irregular shape of the cornea of an eye with astigmatism like soft lenses do. The uniform front surface area of the GP contact lens in result replaces the misshapen cornea as the main refracting (light-bending) surface area of the eye, thus remedying astigmatism without the have to manage rotation of the lens with a toric design.

As pointed out previously, there also are gas permeable contact lenses for astigmatism with toric designs. But toric GP contacts normally are just needed for reasonably high quantities or uncommon types of astigmatism.

Many people who opt to be fitted with gas permeable contact lenses for astigmatism discover GP lenses supply significantly sharper vision than toric soft contact lenses. But due to their rigid nature and thicker profile, gas permeable lenses can be harder to adapt to, and some people who attempt them merely can not get accustomed to the experience of GP lenses on their eyes.

Typically, fitting gas permeable contact lenses takes more time and competence than fitting soft contact lenses (including toric soft lenses). And each RGP contact lens is custom-made to specifications specified by the prescribing eye care professional. For these factors, getting fitted with gas permeable lenses usually costs more than getting fitted with soft lenses, and replacement costs of GP lenses are higher too.

Hybrid Contact Lenses

For some individuals who need contacts for astigmatism, hybrid contact lenses are the best choice. These lenses have a main zone made of a rigid gas permeable lens product, surrounded by a fitting zone made of a hydrogel or silicone hydrogel product.

When effectively fitted, hybrid contact lenses offer the best of both types of contact lenses for astigmatism– the sharp vision of gas permeable lenses and wearing convenience that’s similar to that of toric soft lenses.

And since hybrid contact lenses are about the same size as toric soft lenses (significantly larger in size than gas permeable contact lenses) and have thinner edges than GP lenses, there is less risk of these lenses removing from the eyes during sports and other activities.

Fitting hybrid contact lenses– like fitting gas permeable contacts– takes more time and knowledge than fitting soft contact lenses. And, like GP contacts, these lenses are tailor-made for each wearer’s eyes. Hybrid contact lens fittings and lens replacements are similar in cost with those of rigid gas permeable lenses (to puts it simply, more expensive than soft lenses). However like GP lenses, hybrid contacts don’t need to be replaced as frequently as soft contact lenses, making lens replacement costs more equivalent to those of soft lenses with time.

Specialty Contacts For Astigmatism

Recently, soft contact lenses for astigmatism were rather restricted– specifically if you had a high amount or unusual type of astigmatism. But no more.

Today there are lots of brand names and styles of toric soft lenses, consisting of non reusable contact lenses for astigmatism that are offered in styles and products for month-to-month, biweekly and even daily replacement.

There also are color contact lenses with toric designs that remedy astigmatism while boosting or changing your eye color, and toric bifocal contact lenses that remedy both astigmatism and presbyopia. There even are toric silicone hydrogel lenses designed for as much as 30 days of over night wear.

For unusual or high quantities of astigmatism, unique large-diameter gas permeable contacts called scleral lenses can be extremely effective. Likewise, numerous lens producers use custom-made contact lenses made of hydrogel and silicone hydrogel materials for these situations.

If you have astigmatism and have an interest in wearing contact lenses, check out an eye doctor who concentrates on fitting contact lenses for astigmatism. During a detailed eye test and contact lens consultation, your doctor can advise you whether you are a good prospect for contact lens wear and which astigmatism-correcting contact lenses are best matched for your specific requirements.

Alik Muradov (Eyexan Team Member) / author of the article
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