3 Types of Contact Lenses for Astigmatism – Which Contact Lenses are Best for You?
If you have astigmatism, you might not think you have many options when it comes to content lenses. However, you’d be wrong. There are actually three types of contact lenses for astigmatism on the market today.
Astigmatism is relatively common and treatable, caused by an imperfection in the eye’s curvature. This occurs when the cornea (the front surface) or the lens inside the eye has mismatched curves. So instead of the curve in the cornea and lens being round like a soccer ball, it’s more egg-like as in an American football. This causes blurry vision. Other symptoms include eye strain, headaches, squinting, and difficulty with night vision.
Of course, contact lens options, eyeglass prescriptions, and surgery to correct astigmatism exists. However, if you prefer contact lenses, you have three great options you might want to consider:
1. Toric Contact Lenses
Toric contact lenses can be an excellent choice because the design of the lens has a unique shape that focuses the light using different refractive (or focusing) powers on the vertical and horizontal planes. The Toric lens design is shaped like a slice of the side of a donut and not like the round surface or portion of a beach ball like regular contacts. Interestingly, the word toric comes from the torus, a geometric shape that looks like, you guessed it, a donut.
The fit is critical with the toric lenses because they must be in a specific orientation, both horizontally or vertically, so your line of vision stays clear. Think about the earth and the equator; these lenses have a middle axis, so if the axis is off, your vision will also remain unclear. While the soft lens option is designed to conform to the corneal surface, some times it only stays in place for some people.
2. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses
The RGP lenses differ from the toric because they can correct astigmatism without the toric shape. This is the case because the rigid design tends to hold its shape when placed on the eye, taking the place of the misshapen cornea to focus light on the retina correctly.
RGP fitting must be precise, and because the contact is rigid and smaller in diameter than soft lenses, they can also take some time to adjust. Or you may decide that rigidness is not for you and opt for the soft lenses option. In addition, RGP lenses can pop out occasionally during more vigorous activities, like sports, mountain climbing, and bike riding. So, talk to your doctor about protective eye gear or other options.
3. Hybrid Contact Lenses
The third option is the hybrid contact lenses, combining the best toric and RGP lens designs. Within the middle of the lenses is a rigid gas-permeable material surrounded by either silicone or soft hydrogel. Design-wise, they offer sharp vision ability like the RGP and comfort like soft toric lenses. In addition, the thinner rim makes them less likely to pop out during activities.
Why doesn’t everyone use hybrids if these are the best of both worlds? Well, they aren’t for everyone. For example, if someone has lenticular astigmatism instead of corneal astigmatism. In lenticular astigmatism, you have mismatched curves in the lens. A procedure is typically the best option. With corneal astigmatism, only the front surface (your cornea) has a different curvature.
Which Contact Lenses for Astigmatism is Best For Me?
It’s hard to tell without an eye exam. It’s always best to make sure you talk to your eye doctor about your options. At Looking Glass Optical, we pride ourselves on comprehensive eye exams and patient education. We want to empower you to make the right decisions for your vision health. Schedule an appointment online or call us today to get started.
If you want further information on astigmatism, and eye health, visit the rest of our blog for more education.