Anitha Arvind, on why should an optometrist recommend a toric contact lens to a patient.
Astigmatism is a common refractive condition and has a global prevalence of around 40% in the adult population. Correction of astigmatism is possible by spectacle lenses or special contact lenses meant to correct the condition. In the past only spherical soft lenses were available wherein the wearer had to compromise on crisp vision. The advent of toric soft lenses has changed the scenario today with newer designs and materials providing the best in vision and comfort and commands about 15-18% of the total soft contact lens market.
Why recommend a toric contact lens?
People are of belief that if they have astigmatism or a cylindrical power in their prescription then soft contact lenses are not meant for them but the truth is, with advancing technology excellent soft lens options are available to correct the astigmatism in the form of soft toric lenses. A spherical soft contact lens is not designed to mask the corneal astigmatism hence a specially designed soft lens called toric soft lenses correct astigmatism and provide crisp vision to the wearer.
What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a visual defect in which the unequal curvature of one or more refractive surfaces of the eye, usually the cornea, prevents light rays from focusing clearly at a single point on the retina, resulting in blurred vision.
How can astigmatism be corrected?
Astigmatism can occur in isolation or along with myopia (short sightedness) or hyperopia (long sightedness). Correction of astigmatism requires lenses, which have different powers in different meridians in the form of spectacle lenses or contact lenses.
Can astigmatism be corrected with soft contact lenses?
Yes, specially designed soft contact lenses made of a hydrogel or silicone hydrogel materials called toric soft contact lenses can correct astigmatism.
Is the vision with toric soft contact lenses as clear as spectacle vision?
A well-fitted contact lens by an optometrist who is trained to fit toric contact lenses will ensure that the vision of a toric soft contact lens wearer is not compromised.
Vision of a patient with astigmatism corrected with a regular soft lens as against a toric soft contact lens
Will the comfort of toric soft contact lens be any different from a regular soft contact lens?
A toric soft contact lens will feel no different than a regular soft contact lens and easy to handle and adapt to the wearer just like any soft contact lens.
Are toric soft contact lenses available as disposables?
Yes, advancements in material designs and technology has made it possible to have toric soft contact lenses as daily, biweekly and monthly disposables giving the healthiest option to the wearer.
How to choose an ideal toric soft contact lens?
A contact lens practitioner will be the best to choose what’s right for your eyes based on the prescription, corneal curvatures and the needs after a thorough eye examination. Fitting is critical for toric contact lenses hence an ideal toric soft contact lens will be suggested after a trial for the same.
Who are the ideal candidates for toric soft contact lens?
Anyone with an astigmatism of 0.75DC or more in their prescription
Anyone who wants crisp vision and comfort
Long ago, soft contact lens options for astigmatism was limited but no more. A thorough eye examination by a contact lens practitioner can advise if one is an ideal candidate for a toric soft contat lens and which type of lens would be best suited based on the specific needs of the wearer.
Consultant Optometrist and Assistant Professor at Sankara College Of Optometry