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Astigmatism is a type of refractive error. (Refractive errors are eye problems that affect your vision). If you have astigmatism it means your cornea is misshapen.
The cornea is your eye’s outermost lens. It focuses the light that enters your eye.
A normal cornea is spherical. With astigmatism, the cornea has an irregular curve. A misshapen cornea changes how light passes through to your retina.
Astigmatism can cause:
The causes of astigmatism are unknown. Many believe that genetics play a large role.
It is common for astigmatism to occur with nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia).
Best Contacts For Dry Eyes: 1-Day Acuvue Moist Astigmatism
Best Daily Contacts: 1-Day Acuvue Moist Astigmatism
Best Weekly or Bi-Weekly Contacts: Acuvue Oasys with HYDRACLEAR PLUS for Astigmatism
Best Monthly Contacts: Biofinity Toric Monthly
Best for Sensitive Eyes: Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric
Best Multifocal Contacts: Bausch + Lomb Ultra Multifocal for Astigmatism
Best Extended Wear Contacts: AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism
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Astigmatism is often present at birth, however, it can develop at any age. Mild astigmatism may not need to be corrected. Moderate or severe cases need treatment for sharper vision. Glasses, contact lenses, and surgery are the most common ways to correct astigmatism.
Many people prefer wearing contacts to correct their astigmatism. They are affordable, convenient, and provide excellent visual acuity.
You can use soft or hard (rigid gas permeable, or RGP) contacts to correct astigmatism. Most people opt for soft contacts since they are comfortable and easy to use. Soft lenses are made from a silicone hydrogel material, which creates a soft, breathable lens that still provides sharp vision.
You’ll need special lenses, called “toric” lenses if you have astigmatism. Toric contacts are specifically designed to have two “powers.” One corrects your astigmatism and the other corrects your near or farsightedness. They also have a weight on the bottom to make sure they stay in place and don’t rotate. (Normal lenses have one power and your vision is not affected if they rotate).
*NOTE: It's important to know that contact prescriptions and glasses prescriptions are different. If you only have glasses, your current prescription won't work for contact lenses. Make sure you have a professional contact lens fitting exam from an eye doctor before purchasing lenses from online retailers.
There are many different types of contacts for astigmatism. Here are the best contact lenses for each category:
Dry eyes are a common problem for people with astigmatism. That’s why 1-Day Acuvue Moist are one of the most popular contact lenses on the market. They feature LACREON® technology with an embedded wetting agent. This gives your eyes a cushion of moisture all day. Plus the added convenience of never needing solution or contact cases.
Many contact wearers prefer daily disposable lenses for their convenience. You don’t need a contact case or solution. Instead you throw each pair out at the end of the day.
They also are better for your eye health. Your eyes contain calcium, proteins, and lipids. These build up on reusable lenses and increase your chance of infection. Disposable contacts are always sterile, greatly reducing your chances of infection.
Again, 1-Day Acuvue Moist Astigmatism lenses top the list of this category.
Weekly contact lenses can be worn for one to two weeks. Once again, Acuvue tops the list in this category. Acuvue Oasys lenses come with HYDRACLEAR® PLUS technology. This helps to stabilize tear film, resulting in less dryness.
Monthly contacts only need to be replaced every 30 days. Biofinity Toric Monthly lenses are made of silicone hydrogel. This is a very breathable material that lets oxygen pass through efficiently.
Bonus: Some patients can use Biofinity Toric Monthly lenses for up to 7 days/6 nights of continuous wear. Not all patients can achieve the maximum wear time. Speak with your eye care practitioner for more information.
Best for Sensitive Eyes
Dailies brand lenses by Alcon are another popular choice. Their AquaComfort Plus Toric lenses provide crisp and clear vision. A moisturizing agent is released with every blink so your eyes stay moist all day.
Best Multifocal Contacts for Astigmatism
If you have presbyopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism you’ll need multifocal lenses. Bausch + Lomb Ultra Multifocal lenses are the top choice for this category. They are a monthly lens. They use a 3-Zone Progressive design. This provides vision correction up close, far away, and in between.
Best Extended Wear Contacts for Astigmatism
AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism contacts can only be worn for extended wear (24 hours including while you sleep) if directed by your eye doctor. Be sure to get a professional lens fitting and ask your eye care professional if extended wear contacts are right for you.
*Important Safety Information: Not all patients can wear the lenses for extended wear. Approximately 80% of patients are able to wear the contacts during the day and at night. Always follow the eye care professional’s recommended lens wear, care and replacement schedule. Overnight wear of contact lenses has been shown to increase the risk of certain serious contact lens–related complications. See more AIR OPTIX Safety Information.
If AIR OPTIX NIGHT & DAY AQUA contacts don’t work for you, Biofinity Toric Monthly may be a better option. However, they can only be worn for up to 7 days/6 nights.
Before ordering any contacts online, be sure to get an eye exam and contact lens fitting. Speak with a professional eye doctor or optometrist to find out which contact lens design is best for you.
If soft toric contact lenses are uncomfortable, or unable to correct your astigmatism, there are a couple of other options for toric contact lenses:
Rigid gas permeable, or RGP lenses, are hard contact lenses. Soft contact lenses correct mild to moderate astigmatism. RGP lenses may be beneficial for people with severe astigmatism. They provider sharper vision for high prescriptions.
RGP lenses are custom-made for every patient. They typically have a higher price tag up front but are more durable than soft contact lenses. They will last over a year with proper maintenance. This makes their cost comparable to soft lenses over time.
Many people experience discomfort when first wearing RGP lenses. They often take a few weeks or more to adapt to. They are also smaller in size than soft lenses, which makes them more likely to fall out. They may not be a good choice for people who play sports or do other physical activities.
Hybrid contacts have a rigid gas permeable center surrounded by soft edges made of a soft hydrogel material. They provide the sharper vision of RGP lenses along with the comfort of soft contact lenses.
Like RGP lenses, hybrid contact lenses are custom made for each patient. They are similarly priced to RGP contacts, meaning they are more expensive up front, but wind up costing about the same as soft lenses over time.
1800Contacts has a huge selection of contact lenses and award-winning 24/7 customer service.
Eye Health Statistics. American Academy of Ophthalmology, www.aao.org/newsroom/eye-health-statistics.
Ferrer-Blasco, Teresa, et al. “Prevalence of Corneal Astigmatism before Cataract Surgery.” Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, Elsevier, 21 Dec. 2008, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0886335008010523.
Holden, Brien A. “The Principles and Practice of Correcting Astigmatism with Soft Contact Lenses.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 23 Apr. 2009, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1444-0938.1975.tb01830.x.
Holladay, Jack T, et al. “Analysis of Aggregate Surgically Induced Refractive Change, Prediction Error, and Intraocular Astigmatism.” Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, Elsevier, 1 Feb. 2001, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0886335000007963.
Holladay, Jack T., et al. “Evaluating and Reporting Astigmatism for Individual and Aggregate Data.” Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, Elsevier, 19 Mar. 2013, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0886335098800758.
Morgan, Philip B., and Nathan Efron. “Prescribing Soft Contact Lenses for Astigmatism.” Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, Elsevier, 30 Jan. 2009, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1367048408001616.
Remon, Laura, et al. “Visual Acuity in Simple Myopic Astigmatism: Influence of Cylinder Axis.” Journal of the American Academy of Optometry, Optometry and Vision Science, May 2006, journals.lww.com/optvissci/Abstract/2006/05000/Visual_Acuity_in_Simple_Myopic_Astigmatism_.11.aspx.
Uçakhan, Ömür Ö, and Yağmur Seda Yeşiltaş. “Correction of Irregular Astigmatism With New-Generation Hybrid Contact Lenses.” Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice, Mar. 2020, journals.lww.com/claojournal/Abstract/2020/03000/Correction_of_Irregular_Astigmatism_With.5.aspx.