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What Are Toric Contact Lenses?

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A senior man putting on a single toric contact lens on his right eye to correct his astigmatism.

Corrective lenses, either eyeglasses or contact lenses, can help you achieve clear vision when you have a refractive error. 

For example, for astigmatism, you might have been told by your eye doctor that you need specialty contact lenses, such as toric lenses. But what are toric contact lenses? 

Toric contact lenses are specifically designed with 2 corrective powers for nearsightedness and farsightedness and a unique shape to help provide clear vision for people with astigmatism.  

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common vision condition affecting the way light enters the eye. Normally, the cornea (the transparent outer layer of the eye) and lens (the clear structure inside the eye) have a round curvature that refracts light into the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye). 

For people with astigmatism, the cornea or lens is shaped more like an egg than a round ball and may have mismatched curves. This difference in shape can cause light entering the eye to bend differently, resulting in blurred or distorted vision at all distances. 

In addition to blurry near and distant vision, you can also have the following signs and symptoms of astigmatism:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Squinting

How Is Astigmatism Diagnosed?

Astigmatism may be present from birth or develop later in life, such as with an eye injury, disease, or from surgery. A comprehensive adult eye exam or children’s eye exam performed by your eye doctor can help diagnose astigmatism. 

During your exam, we can perform a series of tests to check the quality of your vision or visual acuity and the shape of your eye. Advanced tests and tools can also help us determine your lens prescription. 

Treatment for Astigmatism

Corrective lenses can help counteract the uneven curvature of the cornea and lens to improve vision clarity and comfort. 

Toric Contact Lenses

Toric contact lenses, or simply torics, are a type of soft contact lens specifically designed for people with mild to moderate astigmatism. They can come in 2 materials, hydrogel and silicone hydrogel, for different levels of breathability.  

Toric contact lenses have a slightly more complex design than standard soft contacts. They have an irregular shape and therefore need a custom fit. In toric lenses, there are different areas of focus, one to correct astigmatism and the other to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. 

Because toric contact lenses have different focusing powers on the horizontal and vertical planes, the fit is important to retain a specific orientation in your eye. So they need to stay in position on the eye to correct astigmatism properly. 

For this reason and to prevent rotation when you blink, some toric lenses have a weighted bottom and are thicker in certain areas. All specialty contact lens fittings require time, expertise, and a contact lens exam

Other types of contact lenses to correct astigmatism can include:

  • Gas permeable lenses: These don’t have the toric design because they are rigid and can retain their shape on an uneven cornea. They are durable and provide crisp vision. However, they may take longer to get used to. 
  • Hybrid lenses: As the name suggests, these lenses are a mixture of soft and gas-permeable lenses, which means they are designed to provide sharpness and comfort. The center is a gas-permeable material, and the outer is soft hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material. 
An optometrist conducting an eye exam on his patient to prescribe the right contact lens.

Choosing the Right Contact Lens

Choosing the right type of contact lens can depend on several factors, including the level of your astigmatism, the shape of your eye, and your lifestyle and preferences. When you see us for an eye exam, we can prescribe contact lenses based on your needs.

It’s also vital to follow your eye doctor’s instructions for wearing and caring for your toric contact lenses. Like all contact lenses, torics also need regular cleaning and disinfecting to prevent infections and other complications.

Contact Lenses for Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a refractive error that requires a precise prescription for contact lenses. Different types of toric contact lenses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism based on your visual needs. 

Thus choosing the right toric contact lenses can depend on several factors. At Hercules Optometric Group, we can walk you through the process to help you get the correct fit and lenses for clear vision. Book your appointment today.

Written by Total Vision

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