If you have astigmatism, you may think that you can't wear contact lenses and will need to wear glasses for the rest of your life. Here are four things astigmatism sufferers need to know about contact lenses.
What is astigmatism?
People with irregularly-shaped corneas have astigmatism. The cornea is the transparent dome that covers the front portion of your eye. To function properly, the cornea should have a smooth surface and an equal curve across the entire dome. If your cornea is unequally curved, light won't pass through your eyes properly, and you'll have blurry or distorted vision; this affects both close and distant objects.
How does astigmatism affect contact lenses?
Standard contact lenses are designed for people with regularly-shaped corneas. If your corneas are irregularly shaped, these standard lenses won't be comfortable for you. Due to this discomfort, many people with astigmatism think that they can't wear contact lenses. This may have been true in the past, but fortunately, contact lenses that are specifically designed for people with astigmatism are now available. These lenses are known as toric lenses.
What are toric lenses?
Toric lenses are usually soft contact lenses, but hard options are also available. While standard contact lenses have the same refractive power throughout the entire lens, toric lenses have different powers in different parts of the lens. This allows the toric lens to correct the irregular shapes of your corneas and allow light to pass through evenly. This corrects the blurring and distortion of near and far objects and allows you to see normally.
Since toric lenses have different powers throughout the lens, they need to stay in the exact same place, and can't rotate throughout the day like standard contact lenses can. To keep the lenses in the proper position, the bottom portions of the lenses are generally weighted. This weight keeps them from rotating.
Are toric lenses hard to use?
Since toric lenses need to remain in the perfect position on your corneas, you may be concerned that they're hard to use properly. This has been accounted for in the design. The lenses may have tiny notches along their bottom edge to help you put them in properly. Lenses that don't have notches will rotate to the proper position on your eyes by themselves. Your optometrist will show you how to put in your new toric lenses to help you feel more confident with this process.
If you have astigmatism, you don't need to wear glasses if you don't want to. Contact lenses are available for people with astigmatism, so see your optometrist soon to explore your options. To learn more, contact a company like Eye Clinic of Fairbanks.