The statement “I can’t wear soft contacts; I have astigmatism” was once considered true, but it is now simply a myth.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, develops an irregular shape instead of its usual smooth and spherical form. This irregular shape leads to the cornea having two curves instead of being uniformly rounded. The cornea’s primary function is to focus light onto the retina, enabling clear vision. However, in astigmatism, the two curves of the cornea create two focal points, resulting in blurred vision.
The irregular shape of the eye poses a challenge for conventional contact lenses to fit properly and provide clear vision. Therefore, specialized contact lenses, such as toric lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses (RGPs), are necessary to correct astigmatism and ensure optimal visual clarity.
Toric contact lenses are specifically designed to correct astigmatism and are custom-made to fit the patient’s eye. Unlike standard contact lenses with a perfectly spherical surface, toric lenses have a more oblong shape that accommodates the unique shape of an astigmatic eye. These lenses can be crafted from either soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP) materials, although soft toric lenses are more commonly used.
The design of toric contact lenses ensures that they stay in place on the eye to maintain proper vision. Sometimes, during eye movements or blinking, the lens can rotate significantly. If rotation becomes an issue with soft toric lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses may be more effective. Although rigid gas permeable lenses require a longer adjustment period initially, they are generally as comfortable as soft contact lenses once the adaptation period has passed, and they often require simpler maintenance.
Toric lenses are available in various wearing schedules, ranging from daily disposables to long-term wear. In some cases, colored toric contact lenses can also be found. Due to the customization involved, toric lenses tend to be more expensive and may require additional laboratory time compared to traditional lenses.
If you have astigmatism, finding the right fit for your contact lenses is crucial. Consult your eye doctor for a comprehensive assessment to determine the most suitable type of toric lenses that will help you achieve optimal vision and comfort.