Dr. Stephen Lobaugh Eye Rx
1629 K St NW #502 Washington DC 20006 +1 202-659-2010
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Can You Wear Contacts With Astigmatism?

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Astigmatism is a common vision problem affecting a large number of Americans. This condition often results from a misshaped curve on the eye’s inside lens, or irregularly shaped corneas affecting the way light reaches the retina

If you have astigmatism, you may experience blurred or distorted vision. These vision issues may decrease or increase, depending on changes to the curvature of the eye’s inner lens. 

The 2 most common types of astigmatism are: 

Astigmatism is an unpreventable eye abnormality; however, an optometrist can provide various treatment options to help you achieve your clearest possible vision. 

At Eye Rx, we strive to provide high-quality care, treatments, and top-level correction options for our patients with astigmatism. We’re always here to help! Don’t hesitate to call us if you have questions about your vision. 

The Cause of Astigmatism & Treatments

Experts have yet to determine why the shape of a cornea and lens varies from person to person, but research suggests that it could be a genetic condition. Astigmatism can be a lifelong condition that presents at birth, develop later in life, or result from an eye injury. 

Myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) are common refractive errors frequently linked to astigmatism. 

Visual problems associated with astigmatism are often corrected with prescription eyeglasses containing a unique cylindrical lens that provides additional power to a specific part of the visual field. 

Will I Wear Frames Forever? 

In the past, patients with astigmatism were limited to eyeglasses or uncomfortably rigid contact lenses to correct their vision. That’s not a lot of options for those interested in a frame-less lifestyle! 

Thankfully, there have been significant advances in contact lens technology over the last few decades, providing an abundance of possible lens options for those with more complicated prescriptions. 

Everyone’s vision is unique, and we recommend that patients with astigmatism book a contact lens exam to discuss the appropriate lens options for their eyesight.

A single contact lens resting on the edge of its container that's sitting on a white surface

Astigmatism-Friendly Contact Lenses

Here are a few friendly lens options for patients with astigmatism. Everyone’s vision is different, and some lens types may not work with certain prescriptions. 

Speak to your optometrist about comprehensive contact lens exams and fittings; they’ll work with you to find the right type of lens for your eyesight and lifestyle. 

Toric Lenses

Toric contact lenses provide different refractive powers on the vertical and horizontal orientations, addressing the shape peculiarities that cause astigmatism.

Toric lenses are weighted in specific areas to rest on the eye’s surface at a perfect orientation, and are customized to the wearer’s cornea. The toric lens’s shape helps correct refractive problems in different eye areas, which can be helpful in more severe cases of astigmatism.

Toric contact lenses have a middle axis, just like the Earth’s equator, that works to keep your line of vision clear. These lenses require specific placement, and must sit correctly on the eye for visual clarity. 

Toric contact lenses are manufactured with essential features to prevent slippage, like zones with differing areas of thickness. 

Rigid Gas-Permeable Lenses

Patients with astigmatism should not be quick to dismiss rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses. Yes, these lenses are more solid than standard contacts. Still, most modern rigid lenses are manufactured with silicone, which offers much more flexibility than hard lenses of the past. 

RGP lenses are made from durable, slightly flexible materials that allow oxygen to pass through to the eyes, resulting in more comfortable and healthier vision

RGP lenses are also available in multifocal options if patients require reading glasses or bifocals. 

Soft Lenses

Depending on their prescription, some patients with astigmatism can wear standard soft contact lenses. Soft contact lenses are widely considered to be comfortable and affordable. 

Soft contacts are a popular option for less complicated prescriptions, and are offered in various disposal types, like daily, bi-weekly, and monthly.

Hybrid Lenses

Hybrid contact lenses are an excellent choice for patients with astigmatism; they are personalized and specially designed with a rigid gas-permeable center, and soft outer edges. 

These lenses combine the visual acuity of a gas-permeable lens with the comforts of a soft lens, even providing a multifocal option for patients who need bifocals. Patients who may benefit from hybrid lenses include: 

  • Patients with corneal astigmatism
  • Patients who experience slippage with toric contact lenses
  • Patients who have astigmatism and presbyopia
  • Patients who feel uncomfortable in RGP lenses  

Find Your Way to Yes

Finding the correct type of lens for your prescription and eyesight is essential when attempting to go frame-free. Don’t be shy when asking about your options; your eye care team should focus on determining the best kind of lens for your unique vision. 

If you’re a patient with astigmatism interested in contact lenses, we recommend booking a comprehensive eye exam and a contact lens exam with your optometrist. 

For more information about astigmatism-friendly contact lenses or to speak to one of our knowledgeable and friendly staff members, contact Eye Rx today!

Written by Stephen Lobaugh

Dr. Lobaugh earned his doctorate from the New England College of Optometry in 1997 and has dedicated his career to providing high-quality eye care services to residents of the Washington-Baltimore area.

Dr. Lobaugh is an Affiliate Doctor with TLC Laser Eye Centers, a position that allows him to effectively co-manage a variety of refractive surgeries including LASIK, PRK, and KAMRA inlay. He is also certified by the International Association of Board of Examiners in the treatment and management of ocular disease.

In 2015, Dr. Lobaugh joined the Eye Rx team, allowing us to open our second location in Washington. He hopes to continue to serve the residents of the D.C. Metropolitan area for many more years to come.

More Articles by Stephen Lobaugh

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  • 1629 K St NW #502
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