Many people choose to wear contact lenses to correct their vision due to the freedom and convenience contacts provide. But for those with astigmatism, wearing contact lenses isn’t always simple.
At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Pacific Rims Optometry in San Francisco we offer specialized contact lenses that provide clear and comfortable vision, even if you have moderate to severe astigmatism.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. The abnormal cornea causes light to disperse unevenly into the eye, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Other symptoms of astigmatism can include headaches, eye strain, and difficulties with reading or using digital devices.
Astigmatism may be congenital, meaning that you are born with the condition, or you can develop it later in life. People with astigmatism usually also have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), two of the most common refractive errors.
Which Contact Lenses Can You Wear With Astigmatism?
Although traditional soft contact lenses may not be suitable for patients with astigmatism, there are two other types of contact lenses specifically designed for those with unusually shaped corneas.
Toric Contact Lenses
Toric lenses are a popular choice for people with mild astigmatism. Patients with higher levels of astigmatism, however, generally require a higher level of expertise.
Toric lenses are designed to provide clear vision and a comfortable fit. There are two main issues with toric lenses. First, the range of corrective powers is limited, so patients with moderate to high levels of astigmatism may not be able to wear toric contacts. Second, these lenses need to rotate on the cornea to find the correct position and orientation, leading these lenses to occasionally provide unstable or varying clarity of vision.
Toric lenses are available in either soft disposable or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens materials.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Unlike standard lenses, scleral lenses vault over the cornea and sit on the sclera (the white of the eye). These lenses do not have the issues faced by toric lenses as they are individually designed for each patient and do not sit on the cornea. By vaulting over the cornea, scleral lenses create a liquid reservoir between your cornea and the lens. This dome provides a continually hydrating environment that protects the cornea, promotes healing, and increases comfort.
Scleral lenses have become a staple therapeutic tool in the visual rehabilitation of patients with astigmatism and other corneal irregularities. They also can provide better visual acuity than standard soft lenses thanks to their rigid surface and personalized fit. Scleral lenses have proven to be an excellent solution for patients with astigmatism that appreciate sharp and comfortable vision.
How We Can Help
At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Pacific Rims Optometry, we can provide you with customized toric or scleral contact lenses that are tailor-made for patients with astigmatism or other corneal irregularities, as well as hard-to-fit eyes. By taking precise and detailed measurements of your cornea, we will be able to ensure a secure fit and crisp, clear vision. To learn more information or to schedule your consultation, call us today.
The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Pacific Rims Optometry serves patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Mateo, and throughout California.