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What are contact lenses for astigmatism?
Medically reviewed by Alastair Lockwood on 26 April 2021
What does it mean if I have astigmatism?
The cornea of the eye is usually spherical. However, some people have astigmatism, which is when the cornea has an unnatural curve to it. This means that your eye is not entirely able to adjust to the light that enters it. As a result blurred or distorted vision occurs.
Astigmatism is a common refractive error and is easily corrected with toric lenses. Most people who are short-sighted (myopic) have some level of astigmatism. However, it may not be pronounced enough to wear contact lenses for astigmatism.
Toric lenses meaning
A toric lens is a lens with different optical power and focal length. They exist in two orientations perpendicular to each other. The lenses act like a combination of a spherical lens and a cylindrical lens. Toric lenses are used in contact lenses and glasses to correct astigmatism.
What do toric contact lenses for astigmatism do?
If you have astigmatism, toric lenses can help to correct this and offer a balanced and clear vision to the wearer. They form a torus shape, which makes them able to bend and adjust better to the eyes’demands. This offers a more accurate visual correction.
Toric lenses also need ‘axis’ and ‘cylinder’ values. The axis figure represents the location of the astigmatism on the eye and ranges from 5 to 180 degrees. A cylinder value is the power used to correct the vision. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as cylinder contact lenses.
Toric lenses are an extremely reliable choice for correcting astigmatism. They offer different correctional powers across different meridians of the lens. They also rotate into position so that these powers line up with the meridians of the eye requiring the visual correction.
To find out more about astigmatism and toric lenses, why not take a look at our guide to astigmatism?
How long do lenses for astigmatism last?
If you have astigmatism, how long a toric lens lasts depends on the individual lens you purchase. Toric lenses are available as a daily disposables, two-weekly lenses, monthly or yearly lenses depending on your preference.
Two-weekly, monthly and yearly lenses for astigmatism are more cost effective, however, need to be cleaned and disinfected daily. Whilst cost efficient in the long term, longer wear contact lenses for astigmatism are more expensive to replace.
Choosing toric lenses for astigmatism
Daily contact lenses for astigmatism
Daily lenses for astigmatism are the most convenient and can be disposed of at the end of each day. This makes them ideal for those living a busy lifestyle as they don't require lens cleaning and storing every night.
Monthly contact lenses for astigmatism
Monthly toric contact lenses must be removed and cleaned at night to prevent eye infections.
Our Biofinity Toric lenses are a great monthly lens choice for astigmatism. They can also be worn as extended wear lenses for up to seven days and nights (if approved by your optician) . A reliable choice, these lenses are both hygienic and comfortable.
Air Optix lenses are another popular choice of monthlies as they can be used to correct long sight and short sightedness. Their silicon hydrogel material makes them highly breathable too.
Two weekly contact lenses for astigmatism
These lenses offer the best of both worlds. Like monthlies they require cleansing and storing at night. However they can be disposed of every two weeks and replaced with fresh lenses. Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism are a great two weekly option for astigmatism.
Yearly contact lenses for astigmatism
Yearly contact lenses are stored in the exact same way as monthlies and equally provide the same level of comfort. Our Proclear Tailor Made Toric lenses are ideal for astigmatism and feature detailed parameters for an accurate fit.
Hybrid contact lenses
Hybrid lenses also work extremely well for astigmatism. These lenses consist of a rigid gas permeable lens combined with a soft lens skirt. This combination provides optimal comfortable and an effective form of correction. However, whilst hybrid lenses are great for correcting corneal astigmatism, they won't work for lenticular astigmatism. Some also report difficulty in inserting hybrid lenses.
How to wear contact lenses for astigmatism?
Wearing lenses for astigmatism is no different from wearing any other lens. The lens may be shaped for a different shaped eye, but the process for inserting and removing toric lenses is no different. Browse our full guide on how to put in and take out contact lenses.
Why are toric lenses for astigmatism so expensive?
Toric lenses that correct astigmatism are slightly more expensive than normal lenses that simply correct short-sightedness (myopia). This is due to the wide power inventory required and the difference in how the lenses are cut.
A small selection of contact lens manufacturers produces colour contact lenses for astigmatism. For most contact lens manufacturers coloured contact lenses are too much hassle to consider. This is due to the number of parameters required. We do not currently stock colour contact lenses for astigmatism on Feel Good Contacts.
Why are my astigmatism contacts blurry?
Blurry vision when looking at close up objects can be caused by dry eyes. Dry eyes can cause toric soft contact lenses to rotate out of alignment, therefore causing blurry vision and problems focusing. If this happens to you, it is recommended that you see an eye doctor who can adjust the lens for you.
Acuvue moist for astigmatism is a great choice if you suffer from dry eyes. These lenses use LACREON technology which enables the lens to retain moisture all day long, keeping your eyes hydrated and healthy. In addition to this, their blink-stabilised design delivers a stable and clear vision.
You can reduce the risk of getting dry eyes with an effective eye care routine in place. Using eye drops or an eye gel can ease the discomfort from dry eyes. Our comfi drops provide long lasting relief from dry eyes and are ideal for soft contact lens wearers.
Can I wear normal contact lenses if I have astigmatism?
Normal contact lenses won't be effective for those who require astigmatism correction. However if the astigmatism is only minor, a rigid gas permeable lens could be an option. This is because they sit on the front of the eye. However higher levels of astigmatism should be corrected with toric lenses. Toric lenses are available in both a soft lens material and rigid gas permeable materials.
The benefits of wearing soft contact lenses are that they are made from a silicon hydrogel material. This allows more oxygen to reach the eye. Acuvue Oasys contact lenses are great for those looking for a silicon hydrogel lens to correct their astigmatism. These lenses can be worn as daily disposable lenses for two weeks or as extended wear lenses for up to one week.
Quick links:Can you have astigmatism and be short-sighted at the same time?
How to apply and remove your contact lenses
How to look after your lenses