Can I Wear Contact Lenses When I Have Astigmatism?

02.03.2023 | Leah | TTDeye Care

Many shortsighted people ask the question: I have astigmatism, so can I wear contact lenses? The answer would be “yes”. However, the lenses should be specifically designed for astigmatism, not the normal soft contact lenses.

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common eye problem that can make your vision blurry or distorted. It happens when your cornea (the clear front layer of your eye) or lens (an inner part of your eye that helps the eye focus) has a different shape than normal.

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error. These are common eye disorders that make it difficult to see clearly. 

Astigmatism and Contacts

There are three types of contact lenses that can help people with astigmatism:

  • Toric
  • Rigid Gas Permeable
  • Hybrid

Toric Contact Lenses

Toric contact lenses are soft lenses developed just for people with astigmatism. They look similar to regular soft contacts but have different powers at different meridians. The design enables them to rotate to the correct orientation for your specific eyes.

Toric soft lenses are very permeable and are made of hydrogel or silicone hydrogel. They allow oxygen to easily pass through them and let your eyes breathe. This quality makes them fairly comfortable to wear, even for several hours.

These lenses may require a few visits to the eye doctor to find the right strength and fit. They also tend to be a little expensive. Replacements cost more than regular soft contact lenses.

Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Rigid gas permeable lenses are also called RGP or GP lenses. They contain some silicone, which makes them more flexible than hard lenses. They also let oxygen pass through, enabling the eyes to breathe.

These lenses are not as flexible as traditional soft contact lenses. However, they are much more advanced than the hard contact lenses used in the 1970s made of PMMA plastic. RGP lenses tend to be more durable than soft contact lenses. This may make them more affordable in the long run.

If your case of astigmatism isn’t too bad, RGPs are usually the first choice for treatment. Eye doctors normally reserve the pricier toric lenses for more severe cases.

Many people find they have better acuity with RGP lenses than with soft toric ones. However, some find them more uncomfortable to wear. Additional custom fittings may resolve this issue.

A Third Choice: Hybrid Lenses

Hybrid lenses combine the best of both worlds. The inner or central area is the same material found in RGP lenses. The outer area is made of a soft lens, which can be either hydrogel or silicone hydrogel.

This means they provide the sharp vision of RGP lenses while maintaining the comfort level of soft contact lenses.

Final Words

No matter what type of contact lenses you wear, it is important to make your choice under the guidance of your doctor. So before you buy contact lenses, make sure you visit your eye doctor or the optometrist and follow his or her instructions.