Contact lenses to treat astigmatism include an additional cylindrical element for proper focusing of the light rays. A person affected by this condition may opt for rigid gas permeable (RGP) or soft toric contact lens. The following article provides information about the same.
Astigmatism is an eye problem that results in blurred vision. It usually accompanies myopia (short-sightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). It can be either corneal or lenticular. The former occurs due to irregularity in the shape of cornea, whereas the latter is due to abnormal curvature of the lens. Both genetic and environmental factors play a major role in the occurrence of this condition. Some people are born with oblong-shaped cornea that results in blurred vision. At times, it is caused due to an eye surgery, eye injury, and keratoconus disease (thinning of cornea).
When light passes through this abnormal cornea or lens it is not focused properly on the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Mild cases of astigmatism do not affect the normal lifestyle of an individual. In fact, nearly all people have astigmatism to some extent. However, a severe case of astigmatism may lead to eye discomfort, distorted vision, and headache. After correct diagnosis, the eye care practitioner may prescribe regular use of corrective lenses, or an eye surgery. The options for corrective lenses are spectacles and contact lenses.
Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
It is a common belief that this condition cannot be corrected by using contact lenses, however, it is not true. Nowadays, toric contact lenses is available which can effectively correct this condition. Toric lenses are specially designed for people who are affected by this condition. In these lenses, an additional power element with greater light-bending property is used for proper focusing of the light on the retina. This additional element is known as a cylinder.
One can also use rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses. RGP lenses makes use of silicone to allow oxygen transmission in a much better way than soft toric lens. Though RGP is not as flexible as the soft toric contact lens, it is comparatively softer than the traditional hard contact lenses. It is not very comfortable for first timers, as it is made of a stiff material which does not adapt to the eye instantly.
Some people prefer rigid permeable lens as it offers good vision, with easy cleaning and long-lasting features. The rigid lens of RGP retains its shape even after prolonged use. With proper care, RGP may last for many years. Another advantage of RGP is that it is more resistant to deposition of lipids and proteins present in the tear, than the soft toric lens.
However, people who are using contact lenses for the first time, soft toric lens is a better option. As the name suggests, it is softer and more convenient to use than any other contact lens. In addition, toric contact lenses are available in various colors. They are also available in daily-disposable forms.
It is claimed that RGP is the best option for mild cases, whereas for moderate to severe astigmatism, soft toric lenses are a good option. It is always advisable to consult an experienced doctor before choosing any contact lenses.