Astigmatism is a common eye condition that results in blurred vision. It is caused by an irregular curvature of the cornea or abnormalities in the lens of the eye. Many people mistakenly believe they can’t wear contact lenses because they have astigmatism. The truth is, today there are several options for correcting astigmatism with contact lenses. Contact lenses for astigmatism include the following:
Soft Toric Contact Lenses: Toric contact lenses are specially designed to correct astigmatism. Most toric contacts are soft lenses made either of a conventional hydrogel material or a highly breathable silicone hydrogel. Regular spherical contact lenses have the same power in all meridians, so it doesn’t matter if they rotate on your eye when you blink. Toric lenses have different powers in different meridians, so they remain rotationally stable and move only vertically with blinks. Some toric lenses are weighted at the bottom to keep them from rotating. Because every eye with astigmatism is unique, it can take more than one pair of soft toric contact lenses to find the brand and design that provides the best fit, comfort and visual acuity.
Gas Permeable (GP) Contact Lenses: In most cases, GP contact lenses can correct astigmatism without a toric design. This is possible because gas permeable lenses are rigid and retain their spherical shape on the eye, instead of conforming to the irregular shape of the cornea of an eye with astigmatism like soft lenses do. Generally, fitting gas permeable contact lenses takes more time and expertise than fitting soft contact lenses (including toric soft lenses) and each GP contact lens is custom-made for each patient.
Hybrid Contact Lenses: These lenses have a central zone made of a rigid gas permeable lens material, surrounded by a fitting zone made of a hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material. When successfully fitted, hybrid contact lenses provide the best of both types of contact lenses for astigmatism – the sharp vision of gas permeable lenses and wearing comfort that’s comparable to that of toric soft lenses. Fitting hybrid contact lenses, like fitting gas permeable contacts, takes more time and expertise than fitting soft contact lenses. And, like GP contacts, these lenses are custom-made for each wearer’s eyes.
If you have astigmatism and are interested in wearing contact lenses, contact Medical Eye Center at 541-779-4711 or www.medicaleyecenter.com to schedule a contact lens fitting. During a comprehensive eye exam and contact lens consultation in Medford, one of our doctors can advise you whether you are a suitable candidate for contact lens wear and which astigmatism-correcting contact lenses are best suited for your specific needs.