Best Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Contact lenses for astigmatism are growing in popularity as the major contact lens companies continue to improve the designs for these type of lenses. There are more options available today than there were 10-20 years ago, providing us more tools to help patients with astigmatism free themselves from spectacle wear.
Does the Brand Matter?
Yes! The primary goal of fitting a soft contact lens for astigmatism is aligning the power axis appropriately to get the patient seeing well. This is more difficult to do than in glasses because the contact lens is subjected to a dynamic environment, constantly interacting with the eyelids during a blink while sometimes adhering to certain locations on the eye because of too steep of a base curve.
The lid interaction is the primary cause of poor stability and fluctuating vision, one of the most common complaints that we see with patients who wear contact lenses for astigmatism. The contact lens rotates with the blink, which changes the orientation of the power axis of the lens, causing blurred vision. The blurry vision does not go away until the contact lens settles to the appropriate orientation.
It is the goal of the contact lens companies to design a lens that aligns appropriately with good comfort and minimal interaction with the eyelid. To achieve these results they utilize a number of different stabilization technologies to help keep the contact lens at the desired orientation. The slight differences in design can be the limiting factor for successful contact lens wear, therefore it is important to see an eye doctor who understands the different stabilizing technologies.
Soft Contact Lenses vs. Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses are still considered to be the best option to provide the most clear vision for patients with large amounts of astigmatism. Unfortunately there can be a small adaptation period for patients who want to use the rigid lenses, therefore they may not have a great initial experience with first time wear. We typically try to fit patients with smaller amounts of astigmatism with soft contact lenses to improve patient comfort, reserving rigid contact lenses for individuals with large amounts of astigmatism or those who have been unable to successfully wear soft contact lenses for astigmatism in the past.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral contact lenses are a great option for the patients who enjoy the clarity of vision offered by gas permeable materials but have difficulty getting used to the comfort of wearing the lenses. We have found our patients enjoy great vision, comparable to traditional gas permeable lenses, without the discomfort. Read more here about scleral contact lenses here.
Final Thoughts on Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
There are a number of different brands that we have had great success with for patients that require correction for astigmatism. We’ve isolated a couple in our practice that we have had great success with, and we focus on becoming experts on fitting these types of lenses. As we discussed previously, there are many different variables at play when we discuss successful contact lens fitting. The best option for you may not be the best option for someone else, therefore it is important that you see an eye doctor who understands the subtle differences between contact lenses and is able to use this understanding to improve your experience with contact lenses.