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Contact Lenses Astigmatism - Contact Lenses for Astigmatism Sufferers

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Astigmatism is a common condition in one or both eyes that effects more than one-third of Americans over the age of 20. Whereas nearsightedness (Myopia) and farsightedness (Hyperopia) are caused by the shape of the eyeball either being too elongated or too squat, astigmatism has to do with the surface of the eye. Astigmatic eyes have an uneven surface, with the cornea being steeper than usual. Light bends improperly as it moves through the eye, causing blurred vision.

Astigmatism can be inherited, and may be present at birth. It can also be caused by eye injuries or contracted eye diseases. It is often found along with other common eye conditions like Myopia or Hyperopia.

Since blurred vision in astigmatic eyes has a different cause than blurred vision in nearsighted or farsighted eyes, it makes sense that they were need their own variety of contacts. Contact lenses for astigmatism are called “toric” contacts, as opposed to “spherical” contacts for Myopia or Hyperopia. Toric lenses are less perfectly round than spherical content lenses; instead, they look like little bowls, with higher sides than spherical lenses. Unlike spherical lenses, toric lenses do not rotate around on the eye.

There are many different kinds of contact lenses for astigmatism available. In fact, if you have Myopia or Hyperopia and your astigmatism is mild, you may be able to wear spherical contacts that also correct your astigmatism. This is because astigmatic eyes will conform slightly to the shape of the contact, eliminating minor unevenness.

If, however, you do need contact lenses specifically for astigmatism (toric lenses), you can be fitted with either soft or hard lenses. Hard lenses, also known as Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses, are more solid and durable than soft lenses, and therefore are less likely to rip. They also retain their shape better, which leads to slightly crisper vision. Additionally, with the right care and maintenance RGPs last much longer, reducing cost and the hassle of getting new contacts.

Soft contacts, on the other hand, can be more comfortable to wear. They take less time to adjust to, and can stay in the eye for longer periods of time without irritation. They are also more easily disposable, and don’t require the maintenance that RGP lenses do. They are more easily removed, and for this reason are often favored by people who like to switch back and forth between contacts and glasses. Even daily disposable Soft toric lenses are available.

Silicone Hydrogel toric lenses are also available. These lenses are more comfortable because they allow more oxygen to get through the lens to the eye. Some brands can last up to 30 days without replacement, despite being soft lenses.

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) treatment is also available for astigmatism sufferers. Ortho-K lenses are worn at night. They physically reshape your eye as you sleep, literally fixing your vision. They do not need to be worn during the daytime. This is a good option for people who don’t want to bother with contacts during the waking hours. However, Ortho-K contacts are expensive and may not be as effective as advertised.

In addition to the plethora of contact lens options for astigmatic eyes, there is an equally vast variety of brands out there offering them. Some of the most popular are Acuvue, Freshlook, Cibavision and Proclear. Ask your eye doctor about which kinds of contacts to consider.

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