Contact lenses are a popular choice for vision correction, and it’s easy to see why. Glasses and contacts can both help correct blurred vision, but many people opt for contact lenses for cosmetic reasons or to participate in activities where wearing glasses might be inconvenient, like sports.
If you have astigmatism, you may think you’re out of luck. This common vision problem is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, which makes wearing contacts difficult. But here’s some good news for you! Contact lenses are available for astigmatism correction, so you can still experience the benefits of wearing contact lenses.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error that causes blurred vision because of the irregular shape of the cornea or lens inside the eye. It’s a common eye condition affecting many people.
The cornea is the clear window at the front of your eye. It allows light to pass through and helps focus it—along with the crystalline lens—onto the layer of light-reactive cells at the back of the eye called the retina. As light lands on the retina, these cells jump into action, shooting the message off to your brain along the optic nerve.
This whole process is nearly instantaneous, and in the end, you have a nice, clear view of the world.
Or rather, you should. With a condition like astigmatism, your cornea or lens has an irregular shape that causes light to scatter across the retina rather than land directly on it. This can cause blurry vision at all distances, along with eye strain, headache, and difficulty seeing at night. It’s a lot like other vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, and can even happen alongside them.
What Causes Astigmatism?
Astigmatism can have several causes, and researchers have identified a few risk factors that increase the chances of developing it. Genetics may play a role, as astigmatism often runs in families. Other factors that can contribute to astigmatism include previous eye surgery and injury or trauma to the eye. So play safe!
Additionally, keratoconus is a rare condition that can cause the cornea to thin and bulge outwards into a cone, causing severe amounts of astigmatism that can be difficult to treat with the usual methods.
Since astigmatism usually first appears in children, regular comprehensive eye exams are essential for monitoring vision problems. Much of kids’ learning is visual, and correcting astigmatism can let them thrive through their school years. After all, how can you learn if you can’t read the books?
Soft Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Soft toric contact lenses are a comfortable and convenient option for people with astigmatism who want to ditch their glasses.
Unlike regular contacts, toric soft lenses have a special design that corrects for the uneven curvature of the cornea, ensuring clear vision at all distances. Made from soft, flexible materials, they provide a more natural feel on the eye compared to rigid gas-permeable lenses.
With various wear schedules available, from daily disposables to monthly lenses, you can choose the option that best suits your lifestyle.
While contact lens fitting requires additional expertise from the eye doctor, advancements in lens technology offer a wider range of options and improved comfort, making soft toric lenses a popular choice for many.
Other Lenses for Astigmatism
Other types of contact lenses may be used to correct astigmatism, but it’s important to consult with your eye doctor first to see which type of lens will benefit your vision.
RGP, or rigid gas permeable contact lenses, are known for their durability. Made from a firm plastic that allows oxygen to reach your eyes, they offer crisp vision and resist protein buildup more effectively than soft lenses. While initially less comfortable, RGP lenses can also help correct eye conditions like astigmatism or keratoconus.
Scleral lenses, on the other hand, are large-diameter lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye. They can correct a wide range of vision problems, including astigmatism and keratoconus. Since they don’t touch the cornea, scleral lenses don’t have to fight against irregular shapes.
Clear Vision Is Within Reach
If you or a family member have astigmatism and are looking for a new way to correct your vision, consider soft contact lenses. It’s clear to us the benefits of clarity, comfort, and long-term durability make it worth it!