Clear and comfortable vision is important for daily life, but it can be difficult for those with astigmatism. Astigmatism is a common condition that causes blurry or distorted vision by affecting the curvature of the cornea or lens.
While glasses are a popular solution for astigmatism, many people wonder if they can wear contact lenses. The good news is that contact lenses can be an excellent way to correct astigmatism.
Whether you’ve worn contact lenses for a long time or are considering them for the first time, keep reading to learn more about managing astigmatism and achieving clear, comfortable vision.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error that causes blurry or distorted near and far vision by altering the way light enters the eye.
The cornea and lens of the eye are normally smooth and uniformly curved in all directions, allowing light to pass through and focus on the retina at the back of the eye. However, in people with astigmatism, the cornea or lens is not equally curved in all directions, resulting in uneven light focus.
What Causes Astigmatism?
Astigmatism can occur at birth or develop over time as a result of:
- Eye injuries
- Eye diseases
- Surgical procedures
It can occur alone or in conjunction with other refractive errors, such as nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia).
Symptoms of astigmatism can include:
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Eye strain
- Difficulty seeing at night
What Contact Lenses Can Help with Astigmatism?
Thankfully, toric lenses, which are contact lenses designed to correct astigmatism, are available. Toric lenses are specially designed to fit the unique curvature of the eye and provide more precise astigmatism correction.
Soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) materials are available for these lenses. Your eye doctor can determine which type of toric lens is best for you based on your specific needs.
Soft Toric Lenses
Soft lenses are typically made of a silicone hydrogel material, which allows more oxygen to enter the eye and reduces the risk of complications. They’re available in the following replacement schedules:
RGP lenses, on the other hand, are made of a strong, long-lasting material that can provide better vision than soft lenses. They are designed to maintain their shape on the eye, which helps to correct astigmatism more precisely.
However, they may take longer to get used to and require a longer adaptation period.
Other Options to Manage Astigmatism
In addition to contact lenses, there are several other ways to manage astigmatism.
- Refractive surgery
- Scleral lenses
Your eye doctor can help you decide which management option is best for your individual needs and lifestyle.
Eyeglasses are a common and effective option for people with astigmatism, as they can correct refractive errors and provide clear vision. They are commonly the preferred option for people with severe astigmatism or other vision problems.
They can correct refractive errors by compensating for irregular corneal or lens curvature. Astigmatism is typically treated with a prescription that includes a spherical power (for nearsightedness or farsightedness) as well as a cylindrical power (for astigmatism).
In some cases, refractive surgery may also be an option for those with astigmatism. Refractive surgery is classified into several types, including LASIK and PRK.
These procedures reshape the cornea with a laser, correcting the uneven curvature and improving vision. The procedure used will be determined by the severity of astigmatism as well as other individual factors, such as corneal thickness.
Scleral contact lenses cover the entire sclera (the white part of the eye) and create a tear-filled chamber between the lens and the cornea. These lenses are commonly used to treat a wide range of vision problems, including astigmatism.
Scleral lenses are known to be comfortable to wear because they’re not sitting directly on the cornea like traditional contact lenses, making them a good choice for people with sensitive eyes.
Since they fit securely over the sclera, there is less of a chance they will move out of position which is a common challenge for people with astigmatism due to the irregular shape of the cornea.
Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam
If you have blurry or distorted vision, book an appointment with the experienced team at Eye Care Center of Colorado Springs. A thorough eye exam can help determine whether you have astigmatism and which management options are best for your specific needs and lifestyle.
To ensure clear and healthy vision, whether you choose glasses, contact lenses, orthokeratology, or refractive surgery, make sure to follow your eye doctor’s recommendations and maintain regular check-ups.