Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Although the cause of astigmatism is unclear, your vision doesn’t have to be. Astigmatism is a common eye condition affecting 1 in 3 people. Astigmatism is usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea (the outer surface of the eye) or the lens (the structure inside the eye). Varieties of this condition include regular astigmatism, corneal astigmatism or lenticular astigmatism. In a normal eye, both the cornea and lens are the same shape. With astigmatism, instead of the cornea having a round shape, there are distinctive curvatures at the edges of the eye, similar in shape to a football. When this happens, the cornea and lens are mismatched causing blurred vision and difficulty seeing fine details.
Specialized contact lenses, called toric lenses, are designed to stay in place despite the abnormally shaped eye. Toric is derived from the word torus meaning “a donut-shaped surface.” The geometric shape of the toric contact lenses creates different focusing powers on vertical and horizontal orientations. Toric contact lenses are soft lenses made from silicone hydrogel material that will correct both astigmatism as well as nearsightedness and farsightedness simultaneously for those who have mild to moderate astigmatism.
While soft toric contact lenses are generally more comfortable, some patients notice they do not stay in place very well. For this reason, and for more severe cases of astigmatism, hard contact lenses would be the most effective option for treatment. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are hard contact lenses. Oftentimes these lenses can correct astigmatism due to retaining their shape when placed on the eye, taking the place of the misshapen cornea to focus light correctly on the retina. RGP contact lenses typically provide much sharper vision over the toric contact lens option. Another hard contact lens option is the hybrid of the RGP and the toric. These contacts have the rigid gas permeable center but are surrounded by the soft, thinner edges of the hydrogel material found in toric contact lenses. They offer the same sharp visual acuity combined with added comfort. RGP and hybrid lenses are custom made for every patient.
Astigmatism is a relatively easy condition to correct with contact lenses. Make today the day to improve your vision clarity and eye comfort. Our specialized team at Pendleton Eye is skilled at providing education on which contact lenses for astigmatism are the best option for you. Schedule an exam by calling 760-758-2008 or website.