Can contacts fix astigmatism? And how?
You’ve just been to your first eye exam, and it turns out that you have an astigmatism in one or both of your eyes. Now you’re wondering, “Can contacts fix astigmatism?”.
Astigmatism simply refers to the condition in which the corneas are irregularly shaped and thus have difficulty refracting light onto the retinas. To correct this vision impairment, light must be refracted in a specific direction, which means that traditional soft lenses, which sit on the corneas to correct the refraction errors and sharpen vision, can’t be used to correct astigmatism.
This is because regular soft lenses have a tendency to move around on your corneas each time you blink, causing them to move out of focus and making it difficult for the lenses to refract in the specific direction they need to in order to correct your vision. Luckily, for people who have astigmatism, there are specific lenses to correct astigmatism that won’t swirl around every time you blink.
Lenses to correct astigmatism: do they exist?
So, do contacts correct astigmatism? Yes! People who have astigmatism can wear special lenses, called toric lenses, to correct their vision. Toric contact lenses for astigmatism are made of the same material as other types of contact lenses - soft silicone hydrogel or other gas permeable materials - but because of the way they are shaped, they are able to correct astigmatism without moving around too much on the cornea. Most of the major contact lens manufacturers also produce contact lenses for astigmatism, from Acuvue Oasys for astigmatism to Biofinity Toric.
Can contacts really fix astigmatism?
Toric lenses are designed to displace the weight at the contact lenses toward the bottom of the lenses, which help them to keep stabilized on the surface of the eye and prevent them from shifting in and out of focus when in use. As opposed to other types of contact lenses, because the lenses need to be oriented in a specific direction in order to actually correct the refractive error, it’s important to learn how to put in astigmatism contacts correctly (even though it is not more difficult than putting a normal contact lens in).
While astigmatism may seem like an additional complication when trying to find solutions for vision correction, since not all manufacturers produce toric lenses and these lenses are not always easily available as colored contacts, people with astigmatisms can use contact lenses to correct their vision. Speak with your OD to schedule a fitting and discuss which lenses are right for you.