If you’ve been diagnosed with astigmatism in one or both eyes, you are part of around 33% of the American population. In previous decades, people with eyesight problems were forced to wear glasses.
Now, there are many other options for people who don’t want to wear glasses. The technologies behind contact lenses and laser eye surgery are at an all-time high.
Often astigmatism is mild. In that case, contact lenses can be the best bet for those wanting to correct their vision without undergoing laser or having to rely on wearing glasses.
Whether you want daily disposable lenses, overnight lenses or long-wear lenses, there are plenty of options. Keep reading for information on best contact lenses for astigmatism and some advice to maintain good eye health.
What is Astigmatism?
Some people have the misconception that astigmatism is a disease. In fact, it’s not a disease. It’s a common defect in the eye that causes the cornea to be shaped like a prolate spheroid (football-shaped), instead of spherical.
This defect varies in severity, but no matter how severe the astigmatism is, it will disable the cornea to some extent and will incorrectly refract the light that hits the eye. This is what causes the impact on your vision.
Astigmatism can improve or degenerate over time, usually depending on age. A young person with astigmatism has a good chance of it correcting on its own, whereas an older person (20+) has a higher chance of the defect getting worse.
Common symptoms of astigmatism include headaches, straining or squinting to see, and blurred vision.
Best Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Most eye doctors agree that toric contact lenses are the best lenses for people with astigmatism. Toric lenses are designed in a specific way, with a curvature, to fit the football-shape of the cornea.
Lenses shaped this way help to correct the defect by creating vertical and horizontal changes to the way light refracts into the eye and increasing and decreasing refraction when needed.
This change to the way light refracts into the cornea is what helps to improve vision. People with severe astigmatism who try to wear “normal”, spherical lenses will find that they slip around and cause increased blurring of vision.
This happens because people with severe astigmatism have a drastically different shaped cornea, so it would make sense that a spherical lens wouldn’t fit. It’s not dissimilar to trying to squeeze into the wrong sized shoe.
For these reasons, toric lenses are the go-to for people with astigmatism. Some of the best, most trusted brands include Acuvue, Focus Dailies and Biofinity.
Because of their irregular shapes and the need for them to be properly fitted, toric lenses are more expensive than regular ones. Prices range from $400 to $1200.
Daily Disposable Lenses
There are many types of toric contact lenses, and which type you use should be based on your own personal preferences and advice from your eye doctor.
Because astigmatism is so common, there are now just as many options for toric lenses as there are for spherical. Daily and monthly wearing patterns are available to choose from, and there are even toric lenses you can safely wear overnight.
Daily lenses are the most popular due to their ease of use. They are more low maintenance because you don’t have to remember to switch them periodically or worry about solutions.
Taking them out at night and putting in new ones in the morning will just become part of your daily routine. No saline solution, no storage hassles.
Some of the most popular and trusted daily toric lenses are the 1-Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism, Dailies AquaComfort, and clariti 1day Toric.
The clariti 1day Toric lenses have won awards for their hydration qualities and effectiveness in correcting astigmatism. They’re also designed to brighten and enhance eye color.
Soft Long Wear Lenses
While daily lenses are convenient, they are more expensive than lenses with longer wearing patterns. Some people prefer soft lenses that they can wear for two weeks or up to a month.
The most popular brands for soft long-wear lenses for astigmatism are Air Optix, Biofinity Toric and Acuvue Oasys. The Air Optix lenses for astigmatism can be safely worn for up to 30 days and are designed with comfort in mind.
The Biofinity Toric lenses are a reliable and trusted choice by many people with astigmatism due to their comfort and clarity of vision.
One drawback to toric lenses is that because of their irregular shape, they do tend to slip around the eye, even when they are fitted to the cornea. Because they are not spherical, it allows for more movement and can cause blurry, interrupted vision.
The Acuvue Oasys lenses or astigmatism are known for their stabilization design that keeps the lenses on the cornea and stops them from sliding around and impairing vision further.
People who suffer from severe eyesight problems including pronounced astigmatism are often recommended RGP lenses (rigid gas permeable lenses).
While soft lenses are more comfortable, RGP lenses are more effective. In severe cases, the patient doesn’t really have a choice, if they want to see properly.
For those who value comfort over sharpness of vision, soft lenses are fine. But for those with more severe eyesight problems that could prevent them from working, driving or doing other things they love, RGP lenses will have to suffice.
Get Tested Annually
Getting annual eye tests is important for the future of your vision, and for your overall health. Many diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, certain cancers, and glaucoma can be found in the eye, so don’t skip your eye exam.
If your eye doctor has diagnosed you with astigmatism, near sighted or far sighted vision, make sure you listen to them and get the right prescription. Putting it off, especially if you’re over 20, can result in degenerating vision over time.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, your vision is just as important as any other element of your health. Finding the best contact lenses for astigmatism that work for your unique needs will not only help you see better but will improve headaches and straining.
Always talk to your doctor before you sleep in your lenses. Some are safe to sleep in, while others are not. Visit our blog for more information on eye health and tips and advice on how to wear and maintain your contact lenses.