If you have astigmatism – a common condition where the eye isn’t perfectly round, but more football- or egg-shaped – then you’ll need specially designed contact lenses to achieve clear vision.
You have several options: “Toric” soft contact lenses are the most common choice, but there are also gas permeable (RGP or GP) lenses and hybrid lenses.
How Do Toric Lenses Work?
When you have astigmatism, different meridians of your eye need different amounts of correction for nearsightedness or farsightedness. Imagine the front of your eye is like the face of a clock: A line drawn from the 12 to the 6 is one meridian, a line from the 1 to the 7 is another, and so on.
Soft toric contact lenses have different powers in different meridians of the lens to correct variations in the eye’s shape. They also have design elements to keep the lens from rotating on your eye, so the meridians of the lens stay aligned with the meridians of your eye.
Today, you can choose from many brands and styles of soft toric lenses. So if Brand A doesn’t fit properly or rotates too much, Brand B may perform better. Getting a good toric fit might mean trying a few brands of lenses.
Many Options in Soft Toric Lenses
Soft toric lenses are available for daily wear (lenses you remove before sleep) and extended wear (lenses approved for overnight wear). There are also soft toric lenses to enhance or change your eye color and multifocal toric lenses if you have presbyopia.
And if soft toric lenses don’t adequately correct your astigmatism, gas permeable lenses will often do the trick.
Gas Permeable Lenses for Astigmatism
If you have a mild to moderate amount of astigmatism, you may want to consider gas permeable contact lenses. GP lenses usually provide sharper vision than soft toric lenses. And because GP lenses are rigid and maintain their shape on the eye, a toric design usually isn’t needed. The astigmatism due to unequal curves on the front surface of your eye is corrected by a layer of tears that forms between your eye and the spherical back surface of the GP lens.
If you have a stronger prescription, or if regular gas permeable lenses fail to correct your astigmatism adequately, toric GP lens designs are also available.
Hybrid Contact Lenses
Hybrid lenses have a rigid GP center surrounded by a “skirt” of soft lens material. The idea of hybrids is to combine the excellent optics of a GP lens with the comfort of a soft lens. And unlike soft lenses, the vision provided by hybrids does not depend on position, so lens rotation is not an issue.
Cost of Contacts for Astigmatism
Properly fitting a soft toric contact lens takes more time and requires more expertise than fitting regular soft contacts. Fitting GPs and hybrids can take more time and expertise as well, and lens material cost is higher than with spherical contact lenses. Consequently, our fees for patients with astigmatism are higher than our regular contact lens fees.
Call for More Information
Call our office today to learn more about contact lens options for astigmatism and to schedule a contact lens consultation to find out which lenses are the best solution for you.
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