Astigmatism is a type of refractive error that causes blurry vision. It is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or lens. The cornea is the clear front part of the eye, and the lens is a clear structure inside of the eye that allows for further focusing.
A regularly-shaped cornea is spherical. However, some corneas may have more of an oval shape. This causes the eye to be longer in one axis, which doesn’t allow light entering the eye to focus on a single focal point. Some people may even interpret vertical lines as being tilted.
Astigmatism results in blurry vision which can be fixed with a soft toric lens or gas permeable lens designed to correct astigmatism.
Contacts Work For Astigmatism
Contact lenses for astigmatism are called toric lenses, and they were first available over 40 years ago. A toric lens treats astigmatism by having different power and focal lengths in two orientations in order to correct for the misshapen cornea or lens.
In essence, a toric lens is shaped in a way that neutralizes the effect of your astigmatism.
The fit of toric contact lenses is especially important because the lens needs to sit properly in order to work.
Toric lenses have features that allow them to rotate so that the extra power needed to correct for astigmatism lays at the correct axis. This technology may include thin-thick zones, lens truncation (altered shape), and ballasting (altered weight).
These features ensure that the toric soft lens is sitting in the right orientation to correct astigmatism and to minimize lens rotation and movement throughout the day.
There are several different types of toric contact lenses available including soft toric lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP lens), and even a hybrid lens. However, the vast majority of people are most familiar with soft contact lenses.
Compared to a soft lens, a GP lens can be a good solution if you have keratoconus because the rigidity of the lens allows for stronger astigmatism correction.
Soft toric contacts are available in daily, two-week, monthly, and even extended wear options.
All contact lenses, including toric contact lenses, require a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. These eye specialists will typically work with you to find the best fitting lens to correct your astigmatism.
Best Contacts for Astigmatism
The best contact lens for you will depend on several factors, but the following toric lenses are among the most widely recommended by eye experts.
Contacts For Astigmatism Are More Expensive
In general, contact lenses for astigmatism are more expensive than their standard counterparts. Prices vary between websites, but most retailers sell a soft contact lens for astigmatism for between 20% and 50% more than comparable non-toric contacts.
This markup for toric lenses is similar regardless of whether you are considering daily contacts or two-week contacts. However, the difference between daily toric vs bi-weekly toric lenses is meaningful if you are on a budget. Over a year, you can expect to pay 2.75x more for contact lenses if you prefer to wear daily toric lenses.
Daily contact lenses are more expensive but are often recommended by eye doctors because they are more healthy for your eye. Daily disposable contacts typically allow more oxygen to enter the eye due to the materials used. In addition, the risk of eye infections is lower due to not having to reuse them.
Contact lens wearers often prefer daily contacts for the same reason. However, if dailies aren’t in your budget, you’ll still be able to find awesome two-week or monthly toric lenses.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you have very mild astigmatism, you might be able to have your vision corrected with a standard contact lens. This can be achieved because your tear film under the contact lens can fill in the irregularity of your cornea to achieve a more spherical shape.
Your eye doctor will work with you to make sure you have the right lens. This is especially important if you suffer from dry eye or have other visual impairments.
Cheap Contacts For Astigmatism
Secondly, make sure you use a coupon code when you make your contact lens purchase. We regularly publish and update our list of contact lens coupons for you.
Are There Multifocal Contact Lenses For Astigmatism
Multifocal contacts are lenses that allow people with presbyopia to see clearly. These contacts contain multiple prescriptions in them so that the wearer can clearly view objects at varying distances.
Have you’ve ever seen someone wearing bifocal glasses or different glasses for reading and driving? If so, then you’re familiar with the way that presbyopia affects vision.
There are now contact lenses on the market that correct for both astigmatism and presbyopia and they are known are multifocal contact lenses for astigmatism or multifocal toric contacts. The engineering required to manufacture these contact lenses is complicated and costly so multifocal toric lenses are more expensive than their toric or multifocal counterparts.
What Are The Best Multifocal Contacts For Astigmatism
Below are two of the leading multifocal toric lenses available on the market.
Are There Colored Contacts For Astigmatism
Yes, but they less common. Here is a one that is often recommended:
If you don’t need contacts for astigmatism, non-toric colored prescription contacts are made by the major contact lens brands and include Air Optix Colors, Dailies Colors, and Freshlook Colorblends. However, these brands do not distribute a toric version of their lenses.
That means that to find a colored toric contact lens you will have to buy from a lesser-known brand that your eye doctor may feel uncomfortable prescribing. Make sure you get a contact lens approved by an eye specialist before wearing it to lower the chance that you’ll have any complications.
How To Read A Contact Lens Prescription For Astigmatism
In addition to the specific contact lens brand, a standard contact lens prescription includes a base curve (bc), diameter (dia), sphere/power (sph/pwr), and expiration date. A prescription for toric contact lenses contains two additional fields: the cylinder (cyl) and the axis (ax). This is because the cylinder and axis are required in order for contact lenses to correct astigmatism.
The base curve corresponds to the fit required for the contact lens to fit the curve of your eye.
The diameter is the optimal width of the lens to fit an eye.
The sphere or power is measured in diopters, which is the unit used to measure the correction. You can think of this as the focusing power required to correct your vision. It can be a positive (+) or negative (-) number.
The cylinder represents the extra visual requirement needed to correct astigmatism. This will be a negative number measured in diopters.
Finally, the axis is the angle of astigmatism or the angle at which more power is needed to correct for the blurry vision. It is denoted in degrees ranging from 0 to 180 degrees.
How To Order Contacts For Astigmatism
When it comes to placing your order for contact lenses, you will want to use our contact lens price comparison tool to see which store sells your preferred brand for the lowest price.
We search the internet for the best contact lens prices and we list them for you so that you can feel confident that you don’t overpay for contact lenses again.
Before placing your contact lens order you’ll want to make sure you have a valid contact lens prescription (an eye-glass prescription won’t work).
It may also be worth checking if your purchase would qualify for a manufacturer’s rebate. Here are some leading rebate programs for contact lenses: Acuvue rebate program, Alcon rebate program, and the CooperVision rebate program.
Are Contacts Or Glasses Better For Astigmatism
Both contacts and glasses can correct astigmatisms. However, no two corneas or lenses are exactly the same. If your cornea is too steep to have a contact lens fit properly then glasses will be your best bet. However, for most people with astigmatism, contact lenses should work just fine.
Camilo is the founder of Contacts Compare and is a contact lens enthusiast who has been buying, shopping, and comparing contact lenses for over 12 years. He started Contacts Compare because it was nearly impossible to compare prices quickly to make sure he was getting the best price possible. He holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. His favorite contact lens is Acuvue Oasys 1-Day with Hydraluxe.