Astigmatism is a common vision problem that can be corrected with the use of what are known as toric contact lenses.
To understand how toric lenses and astigmatism are in some ways a match made in heaven, it is helpful to get a basic grounding on what leads to needing contact lenses in the first place.
In basic terms, astigmatism is a refractive error in your eyes which means that light rays fail to result in a single focus on the retina due to differing levels of refraction in the various meridians of the eye. The diagnosis you will get from an eye doctor is often a corneal astigmatism or a lenticular astigmatism.
The main issue to contend with when you have astigmatism is that the power of the eye is of a different strength in one direction when compared to the other direction 90 degrees away. You will often find that an eye that has astigmatism will be more of an oblong shape rather than a more conventional round shape.
There are many different types of lenses that you can get from a contact lens store; the type of contact lens used to correct myopia is known as an orthokeratology lens. More common refractive errors such as astigmatism or hyperopia are considered more difficult to treat using this type of lens.
The purpose of orthokeratology is corneal reshaping, but there has been recent research by Dr. John Jackson which suggests that it can also be used to correct astigmatism. Dr. Jackson cited a case where a patient was suffering from a complex high astigmatism and he was fitted with contact lenses that had a CRT Dual Axis design in order to reshape the cornea. The result was that the patient was able to see all day after an initial two week settling-in period had elapsed.
Another solution to the common problem of astigmatism is to prescribe the use of toric contact lenses. When someone has astigmatism it means that they will have corneas that are not perfectly round and regular contact lenses will not be able to correct all vision problems in these circumstances.
Toric contact lenses are designed to boost the power in the direction where there is a weakness and reduce the power in the opposite direction where it is stronger, resulting in a perfect balance and greatly improved vision as a result.
It is feasible that you may only have astigmatism in only one eye and if this is the case, then there is flexibility available to prescribe a toric lens in that eye and an ordinary lens for the eye that is not affected by the condition.
You will often find that toric lenses are more expensive than standard lenses but this is because they are more complicated and therefore expensive to manufacture and subsequently require more skill and time from your doctor to fit them, so it is understandable that this extra time and effort needs to be accounted for.
Astigmatism need not be a problem when you consider the options available to deal with the condition through the use of contact lenses.
Steve Gott is a former optometrist. Now retired, he likes to share his know-how by posting on health and eye care blog sites. He recommends UK contact lens store to get different types of lenses.