Astigmatism is a disorder of the eye where the irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision, discomfort, and headaches. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Astigmatism often co-exists with myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness).
Usually, the surface of the cornea is round, like a basketball. For people with astigmatism, the surface is shaped like a football, and the eye is not able to focus light rays to a single point.
Astigmatism can be easily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Contact lenses provide a clearer, and a wider field of vision, and provide greater comfort than glasses.
The type of contact lens you have depends on the type of astigmatism you have. Your ophthalmologist will be able to prescribe the right type of contacts for your condition. The contact lens for you could be one of the following:
Types of Contact Lens for Astigmatism
- Toric Contact Lenses – Toric contact lenses are specially designed to correct moderate amounts of astigmatism. These are made of either a hydrogel material or a highly breathable silicone hydrogel. The word Toric comes from the geometric shape ‘torus.’ A torus looks like a donut, and Toric lenses are shaped like a slice of a donut so they align with the irregularly shaped cornea to give the wearer proper vision. Toric contact lenses need to be prescribed by the doctor who can choose contact lenses that are right for your vision and customize them accordingly.
- Gas Permeable Contact Lenses – Gas permeable contact lenses can correct astigmatism without being shaped like a Toric. These contacts for astigmatism are rigid and retain their spherical shape instead of molding to the irregular shape of the cornea. This uniform curve of the gas permeable contact lens replaces the irregularly shaped cornea as the primary refracting surface of the eye. It takes more time fitting gas permeable contact lenses as compared to fitting soft contact lenses and costs more than getting fitted with Toric lenses. Almost 75% of the astigmatic participants said that their vision was better with gas permeable contact lenses. Out of the test subjects, only 10% had worn their gas permeable contact lenses prior to the study, and 60% ended up wearing these gas permeable lenses after the study.
- Hybrid Contact Lenses – Hybrid contact lenses are great for most patients with corneal astigmatism. Hybrid contact lenses combine the best of both worlds — the center is made of a rigid gas permeable material, and the surrounding zone is made of a hydrogel or a silicone hydrogel like in Toric lenses. This helps the wearer provide the comfort of Toric lenses and the accuracy of vision of gas permeable contacts for astigmatism. Since these are more customized contacts for astigmatism, they need more time and expertise in fitting. But since these lenses are custom-made for the wearer, they’re more sturdy and better to wear for sports.
Most people with mild astigmatism (up to 0.50D) can wear soft, disposable contact lenses that don’t have any correction for astigmatism. You can still achieve 20-20 vision with a small amount of uncorrected astigmatism.
The experienced team at the InSight Vision Center will help you get the best contact lens, no matter what your level of astigmatism is. Make an appointment now.