Toric Contact Lenses

You may have heard of the term ‘toric lenses’ but are not sure what they are, when they’re prescribed, or how they help. Below, we walk through the ins and outs of these contact lenses, so you have the information you need to buy the right design for your health needs.

What is a toric contact lens?

Toric contact lenses are lenses for eyes shaped in a particular way. A toric lens is usually a soft contact lens and it works to correct astigmatism, a vision condition millions of people suffer from. It involves having blurred vision because the cornea – the clear front cover of the eye – is irregularly shaped. Also, sometimes astigmatism results from a curvature of the lens inside the eye.

Astigmatism is most often present from birth. As they grow, many people with astigmatism start suffering from headaches and eye discomfort as a result of their unusual toric shape, and need lenses for vision correction and to fix other, related problems.

A toric contact lens can help because it has a geometric shape that addresses astigmatism. While standard contact lenses have a spherical surface that’s shaped like the slice of a side of a round ball, toric soft lenses are shaped more like a slice of the side of a donut. In people with astigmatism, the irregular curvature of their eye leads to the eye reflecting light differently at different points. The problem with this refractive setup is that it means the eye struggles to make the most of the light that enters. In turn, it can’t create a perfect picture like regularly shaped, ideally refractive eyes can.

Toric contact lenses are shaped to have different refractive (focusing) powers on each of the vertical and horizontal orientations, to suit the ways in which people with astigmatisms have different refractions naturally on each of these planes. Move around the lens and the strength of the focus increases or decreases gradually, as required.

Soft toric contacts are made from a conventional or a breathable silicone hydrogel material. There are also some toric lenses made of rigid gas permeable lens material, rather than soft, but these products aren’t as common. They're most often recommended for people with severe cases of prescription astigmatism.

Can I choose any toric contact lenses?

Toric contact lenses are created to stay in place on the eye, giving people proper vision that's maintained at all times. However, there are many different brands and designs of toric contacts on the market, so it’s necessary to test different options to find those that suit your particular type of astigmatism best.

Each astigmatism differs from the next, so you have to be patient to find a lens that will give you the best fit, comfort level, and visual acuity. To work effectively, toric contact lenses have to stay on your eye in the correct way. Like the Earth’s equator, these contact lenses also have a middle axis. This axis keeps your line of vision clear, so you don’t want it to slip too high or low.

Product manufacturers design toric contact lenses with features that assist them to stay fixed. They often add thin-thick zones; ballasting, where the lens can become a bit heavier or thicker in parts; and lens truncation, where the bottom of the item is cut off.

You should have help fitting toric products. Get assistance from a specialist as you need someone with expertise in toric designs. Fittings for contact lenses with a toric shape cost patients more than a regular exam and fitting because of the expert knowledge and skills required by a practitioner.

Do toric contacts cost more money?

Since toric contact lenses have a more complex design, the cost to buy and later replace lenses is usually higher than the cost of regular, spherically-shaped soft lenses. Costs differ according to factors like the material used in the lenses, the design of the lens, and where you purchase the lenses.

Do you have to wear toric contact lenses if you have astigmatism?

Many people with astigmatism think they can’t wear contact lenses because of the irregular shape of their eye. This is not true. Today, there are all sorts of excellent lenses available to correct this eye condition. However, consumers should be aware that if they have an astigmatism, this doesn’t mean they have to wear a toric lens. Those with a severe level of astigmatism usually wear these specific lenses if they want to be able to see well and feel comfortable, but some people with low or even moderate astigmatism can be fine with standard spherical lenses. It all depends on the state of your eye(s).

People with low amounts of astigmatism, in particular, may find that the cost of the fluctuating vision that can stem from ineffectually-fitting toric contacts outweighs the benefits of trying to correct the astigmatism in the first place. To find out which lenses are right for you, speak with your eye doctor or optometrist for more information. They will help you to discover the optimal contact lenses.

Toric lens options

Today there are many different brands and styles of contact lenses which correct astigmatism, so you don’t have to continue wearing glasses if you don’t want to. Choose between toric dailies and other disposable toric contact lenses with varying longevity standards, including biweekly and monthly products. If you’re keen to wear coloured contact lenses, you’ll also find toric designs available. Plus, there are some toric bifocal contact lenses being made now, too.

Search online today for contacts that will set your vision free and enable you to live your best life with optimal eye health care. You can contact the friendly staff at Contact Connection for assistance with all your toric needs and information about any other lenses.