If you have astigmatism, you may think you can't wear contact lenses. Or, you may have heard that toric lenses are uncomfortable. However, toric contact lenses have changed over the years. Most people can now wear these lenses much in the way as other soft contact lenses. Read on to know more about toric lenses types, how they work, and how they differ from other lenses.
Toric Contact Lenses Overview
Toric lenses are contact lenses that compensate for irregularities in the cornea. People with no astigmatism have a nearly circle-shaped cornea. With astigmatism, the cornea has more of an elongated shape. Regular contact lenses won't correct this condition. You need a contact lens that reflects light differently so you can see clearer.
If you have astigmatism and try to use regular contacts, you will have vision problems. Your near or distance vision may be corrected, but you could have some distortion depending on your astigmatism. For example, many people have trouble reading signs at a distance or experience double vision with their uncorrected astigmatism. Regular contacts won't provide any correction for this.
Ways Toric Contact Lenses Work
Soft toric lenses have a larger diameter and a design that compensates for your astigmatism. Astigmatism prescriptions include an axis and cylinder. These numbers indicate the direction and strength of your astigmatism. Because the lenses must not rotate, they are balanced a certain way. Most of them are thicker and heavier on the bottom to keep the axis and cylinder in the right location. However, you won't notice this difference when you wear them.
Types of Toric Contact Lenses
Traditional toric contact lenses were usually hard or gas permeable. Many people had difficulty wearing them. They could be uncomfortable and took getting used to. Newer technology now not only includes soft toric lenses, but also disposable, extended wear, and even colored toric lenses. You can still get traditional toric lenses if you want.
Soft toric lenses have a hydrogel and silicone hydrogel construction. The latter is often considered more breathable than the regular hydrogel. Fitting is slightly more complicated than regular soft lenses and usually takes a little more time. Hybrid lenses that combine both soft and gas-permeable characteristics are also on the market. These may be a better option for those with more severe astigmatism.
If your optometrist feels you need astigmatism correction, then they will likely prescribe you toric lenses. Toric lenses will eliminate some of your astigmatism distortions. If you wear glasses and have astigmatism, ask a doctor about prescription contact lenses for astigmatism.