Astigmatic lenses

There are contact lenses which are designed to treat astigmatism and the availability of these is increasing as we speak. These include toric lenses, bifocal and multifocal lenses.

This is a welcome development as previously, anyone with astigmatism was considered unsuitable for contact lenses or too difficult to fit for lenses. The only choice was to wear glasses but now there are other options.

This is not to disparage glasses in any way: if you wear glasses and wish to continue with these then that is fine. But if you are interested in switching to contact lenses then read on.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a very common type of condition which often accompanies cases of short or long sightedness. But it can also occur in people without either of these conditions and of any age.

What happens with astigmatism is that the eyes are unable to focus properly due to a fault with the cornea. The cornea is oval shaped rather than shaped like a ball which means that one axis is at a steeper angle than the other which affects the vision. The greater this angle the greater the extent of the astigmatism. It is also caused by a tilting of the natural lens within the eye.

Soft lenses and gas permeable lenses can correct this degree of astigmatism but this depends upon the level. Low to medium levels of astigmatism respond better to a basic type of gas permeable lens: whereas higher levels are better suited to a rigid gas permeable lens.

These lenses are worn as a daily use lens and require a more precise type of fitting.

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