Toric Contact Lenses

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What Are Toric Contact Lenses for Astigmatism?

Toric contact lenses are astigmatism correcting contact lenses. Astigmatism is caused by an irregularly curved cornea. It can cause blurry or distorted vision.

Unlike regular contact lenses, toric contact lenses have a particular orientation and specific features to ensure that they sit correctly in your eyes. Here’s what you can expect in a toric contact lens:

  • A thin-thick zone
  • Lens truncation (the bottom of the lens is partially cut off)
  • Ballasting (the lens is a bit thicker or heavier in some areas)
  • A middle axis
Toric Contact Lens Shape

Most standard contacts are spherical lenses. This means their circular shape has even vertical and horizontal orientations. Toric contacts have a special shape (torus) that fits the irregular curvature of your eye. This gives them different refractive powers to correct astigmatism and any amount of nearsightedness or farsightedness you have.

Toric contact lenses must be properly fitted to your eyes so that they perform optimally. Because they need to be highly customized to your eyes, toric contact lenses tend to be more expensive and may take more time to make than traditional lenses.

Best Toric Contacts For Dry Eyes (Dailies): 1-Day Acuvue Moist Astigmatism

Best Weekly or Bi-Weekly Toric Contacts: Acuvue Oasys with HYDRACLEAR PLUS for Astigmatism

Best Monthly Toric Contacts: Biofinity Toric Monthly

Best for Sensitive Eyes: Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric

Best Multifocal Toric Contacts: Bausch + Lomb Ultra Multifocal for Astigmatism

Best Extended Wear Toric Contacts: AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism

NOTE: Glasses and contact prescriptions are different. If you only have a glasses prescription, you'll need to see an eye doctor for a professional eye exam and contact lens fitting. They will give you a new contact lens prescription and recommend brands that match your vision correction needs. Make sure you have an updated contact lens prescription before ordering lenses online.

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism affects the curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens, the transparent part of your eye that covers your iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. In regular eyes, the cornea and lens are smooth and evenly curved to focus rays of light onto the retina in the back of your eye.

If you have astigmatism, your cornea or lens is not curved correctly. Instead of a perfect sphere, they may be shaped like a football. This means that the light that meets your eye won’t be refracted properly.

diagram showing eye with normal vision vs astigmatism

If it’s your cornea that’s distorted, you have what’s called corneal astigmatism. If it’s your lens that’s irregularly shaped, you have what’s called lenticular astigmatism. Both kinds of astigmatism can affect your near and far eyesight, making your vision blurry or distorted. Here are some common symptoms of both types of astigmatism:

  • Blurry vision
  • Distorted vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Eye discomfort or pain

Fortunately, there are ways to treat astigmatism of either kind, as they are both common. While some people may develop astigmatism after eye surgery, eye injury, or eye disease, most cases of astigmatism are inherited. Toric contact lenses, as well as glasses and laser eye surgery, can help to neutralize astigmatism, regardless of its onset.

Different Types of Toric Lenses

There are different types of toric lenses to treat astigmatism, and they’re all available in everything from daily disposable lenses to long-term wear lenses. Toric lenses can even come in different colors.

Most importantly, however, you have a choice between soft or hard toric lenses:

  1. Soft lenses: Soft contacts are made from a silicone hydrogel lens material. They are the most common type of contact lenses. They tend to be easier to adjust and more comfortable to wear than RGP lenses. They can correct most cases of mild to moderate astigmatism.
  2. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses: RGP, or hard contact lenses may take longer to adjust to. Their rigid nature and small size may make them feel less comfortable and fall out easier than soft toric contact lenses. However, they can deliver sharper vision and may be the only option for people with severe astigmatism.

When discussing toric contact lenses, most people are referring to soft lenses.

People who have very mild astigmatism may not need to use toric lenses. They can often get good vision from regular soft contacts. Toric lenses can also correct your corneal shape and help other refractive errors.

Top 6 Toric Contacts of 2021

1 day acuvue moist for astigmatism 2

1-Day Acuvue Moist Astigmatism

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.

Lens Features:

  • High UV protection (at least 82% of UV-A and 97% of UV-B radiation)
  • BLINK STABILIZED® design to keep contacts in place
  • Material: 42% polymer; 58% water 
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson
Acuvue Oasys with HYDRACLEAR PLUS for Astigmatism

Acuvue Oasys with HYDRACLEAR PLUS for Astigmatism

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.

Lens Features:

  • Highest UV protection of any contact lens
  • BLINK STABILIZED® design to keep contacts in place
  • Material: 62% polymer (senofilcon A); 38% water
  • Manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson
Biofinity Toric Monthly

Biofinity Toric Monthly

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. 

Lens Features:

  • Aquaform® Technology for maximum breathability and hydration
  •  Optimized Toric Lens Geometry™ reduces lens movement and increases comfort
  • Material: 52% comfilcon A; 48% water
  • Manufacturer: CooperVision

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.

Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric

Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric

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.

Lens Features:

  • Precision Curve® design that keeps them in place
  • Blink-activated moisture technology
  • Material: 31% nelfilcon A; 69% water 
  • Manufacturer: Alcon
Bausch Lomb Ultra Multifocal for Astigmatism

Bausch + Lomb Ultra Multifocal for Astigmatism

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.

Lens Features:

  • OpticAlign design for stable, consistently clear vision
  • MoistureSeal technology maintains 95% of lens moisture for 16 hours
  • Material: 54% samfilcon A; 46% water
  • Manufacturer: Bausch + Lomb
AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism

AIR OPTIX for Astigmatism

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.

Lens Features:

  • Flexible and customizable wearing schedule
  • PRECISION BALANCE 8|4® Lens Design to keep lenses from rotating
  • Material: 67% lotrafilcon B; 33% water
  • Manufacturer: Alcon

*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.

Toric Lenses vs. Other Astigmatism Contacts

Beyond your typical soft or RGP toric lenses, here are a few other contact lens options:

  1. Scleral contact lenses: Progressive astigmatism may indicate an underlying condition like keratoconus, which happens when your cornea thins and bulges out into a cone shape. If your astigmatism is progressive, you should consult your doctor about potential conditions and scleral lenses that may help.
  2. Hybrid contact lenses: A hybrid lens has a gas permeable lens center but, rather than being rigid, it’s surrounded by a soft skirt for comfort. You may be a good candidate for hybrid contact lenses if you have regular corneal astigmatism and often find yourself complaining about your soft lenses moving around or your RGP lenses being too uncomfortable. (Note that hybrid contact lenses are not for lenticular astigmatism.) If you’re a multifocal patient who currently wears soft contact lenses, a hybrid lens may help you achieve better vision, too.

Are Toric Lenses Better Than Glasses?

Glasses are a great option to treat astigmatism, and they may even be cheaper than toric contact lenses. Most people will only need a single-vision but cylindrical lens, which offsets astigmatism.

That said, if you have corneal astigmatism, in particular, you may benefit from RGP lenses because the lens reshapes your cornea to improve your vision. Likewise, contact lenses can offer better peripheral vision than glasses.

Most people that only need mild or moderate astigmatism correction make their decision to wear contacts or glasses based on their lifestyle. Ultimately, the choice is yours. It’s best to consult your doctor about the pros, cons, and costs of toric contacts vs glasses.

Vision Center Recommends 1800Contacts

1800Contacts has a huge selection of contact lenses and award-winning 24/7 customer service.

Resources
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FACS, Richard G Shugarman MD. “Which Is Better for Astigmatism -- Glasses or Contacts?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2 Mar. 2018, www.aao.org/eye-health/ask-ophthalmologist-q/why-are-glasses-better-than-contacts-astigmatism

“Keratoconus.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 July 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/keratoconus/symptoms-causes/syc-20351352

Publishing, Harvard Health. “Astigmatism.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/astigmatism-a-to-z

Sima. “Hybrid Contact Lenses – All You Need to Know.” Washington Eye Doctors, www.washingtoneyedoctors.com/2016/12/29/hybrid-contact-lenses-all-you-need-to-know/

“Wearing Contacts With Astigmatism: What You Should Know.” Wearing Contacts With Astigmatism: What You Should Know: Smart Eye Care: Ophthalmologists, www.smarteyecare.nyc/blog/wearing-contacts-with-astigmatism-what-you-should-know

“What Is a Toric Contact Lens?: Medford.” Medical Eye Center, 21 Nov. 2016, www.medicaleyecenter.com/2016/11/21/toric-contact-lens-2.

“What Is Astigmatism?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 7 Sept. 2018, www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-astigmatism

“What Is Toric Contact Lens or Rigid Gas Permeable Lens (RGPs)?” The Eye Doctors, 6 July 2020, www.theeyedocs.com/eyeglasses-contacts/contact-lenses/toric-contact-lenses-for-astigmatism/

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