Vision Correction: Understanding the Contact Lens Options for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a serious vision problem which is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. People with this condition will experience blurring and distortion at all distances because of the abnormal cornea. In simple terms, when light enters the eye, it will be distorted such that images cannot be focused on a single point of the retina. Instead, there are multiple points of focus behind or in front of the retina.
Due to the complexity of this vision condition, numerous people believe that the problem cannot be corrected with contact lenses. While regular contacts will not improve the blurring and distortions, there are variants which are ideal. Here is a brief discussion of the best contact lens options if you have astigmatism.
Toric Soft Lenses
Toric contacts lenses are manufactured using the conventional hydrogel or breathable silicone hydrogel. Like other soft lenses, this product will conform to the irregular shape of the cornea. However, the design is different from the standard spherical soft lenses. Typically, toric lenses are built to have varying levels of power along distinct meridians of the eye to correct astigmatism. Regular contact lenses have the same vision improvement power in all the meridians.
Also, toric lenses are fabricated to remain rotationally stable. This aspect is critical because the power meridians in the contacts must align with the identified problems in the eye. Toric lenses are more expensive than standard lenses, and the higher price can be attributed to the complexity of the structure.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
If you are not interested in toric contact lenses, you should consider choosing rigid gas permeable alternatives. These are not soft, so they will not conform to the shape of the cornea. Instead, their spherical shape will remain stable even after contact with the irregular eye surface. In general, the rigid contact lens will correct the vision problems by acting as the new cornea.
Astigmatism is associated with blurring because the misshapen cornea is responsible for bending the light entering the eye. When the RGP lenses function as the light-bending elements, the distortion will not occur.
Hybrid contact lenses are ideal for managing astigmatism because they are built to offer the advantages of the above-mentioned lenses and eliminate the shortcomings. Typically, this type of product consists of rigid gas permeable material at the central zones while the edges are made from soft hydrogen or silicone hydrogel. With hybrid lenses, you will enjoy the comfort of soft toric contacts and the sharp vision of the RGP alternatives.
Discuss these and other options with an optometrist if you have astigmatism.