I have an astigmatism. Can I wear contact lenses?
Eyes that have an astigmatism refract light onto two focal points in the retina due to an irregularity in the curvature of the cornea or the lens. The duality of the refraction of light through astigmatic corneas or lenses can result in blurred vision both at short and long distances.
Due to the irregular curvature of the corneas, people with astigmatism cannot use traditional spherical soft contact lenses to correct their vision, as contact lenses tend to rotate slightly with each blink. Spherical lenses on astigmatic eyes would thus shift in an out of focus each time the user blinks. So, you may be asking yourself, can you get contacts with astigmatism?
Because traditional spherical soft contact lenses are ineffective for astigmatic eyes, people with astigmatism often assume that they can’t wear contacts. However, this is not the case! There are a multitude of prescription contact lenses available to correct astigmatism.
Can you get contacts for astigmatism?
In the past, people with astigmatism were often prescribed rigid gas permeable contact lenses to correct their vision because they are better able to retain their spherical shape on the eye. While these rigid contact lenses are effective at correcting astigmatism, it can often be difficult for people to get accustomed to the sensation of the lens on their eye. Now, with advances in contact lens technology, there are also soft contact lenses that comfortably correct astigmatism for the wearer.
Toric contact lenses are soft contact lenses that are designed to refract light in a specific direction in order to correct astigmatism and provide greater comfort for the wearer. These lenses are produced according to a particular design, meaning that they need to remain fixed in place on the surface of the eye in order to properly correct the astigmatism. In order to keep toric lenses fixed in place, the lenses are designed to carry more weight at the bottom of the lens. For example, the line of Acuvue Oasys for astigmatism of soft contact lenses are designed with Blink Stabilized™ to minimize shifting of the lense, keeping vision crisp and clear throughout the day, despite the day's activities.
Toric contact lenses for astigmatism are available in a variety of brands and for all disposable options, both daily or prolonged wear. Biofinity toric contact lenses can be worn for up to seven days in a row while maintaining vision crisp and providing a maximum comfort for your eyes.
Contacts for severe astigmatism: yes or no?
For more severe cases of astigmatism, your eye doctor may recommend rigid contact lenses instead of soft toric lenses. For people with severe astigmatism, soft lenses may not be able to have a difficult time staying locked in the right position to correct the astigmatism. The rigid lenses correct the astigmatism by providing a spherical surface on the eye. These lenses are made out of a permeable, durable plastic that allows for the transfusion of oxygen through the contact lens.
Doctors recommend these rigid contact lenses because of their greater rigidity when compared to soft lenses. The rigidity of these lenses enables them better retain their shape, resulting in more improved vision in comparison to soft toric lenses, and because they are composed of different materials than soft lenses, they are often easier to clean and last longer than soft lenses. However, although the rigidity of the lenses helps them to stay in place, they aren't always as comfortable as soft lenses, as their name might suggest.
Remember that certain types of contact lenses for astigmatism need to be applied in a particular way. For more information, read our guide on how to put in astigmatism contacts.