Contacts and Astigmatism

I’m interested in knowing what Dopers know about these in combination. I have astigmatism, so I’m told, and I’d like to get contacts. I’ve heard in the past that contacts don’t work with astigmatism, but I’ve also heard of improvements that may have led to productivity in development of this.

I also hate putting anything close to my eyeball. I’ve never even touched it with my skin, let alone attach something to it.

I have Astigmatism and was told I could only use hard (rigid) contact lenses. I did try them, but I hated them. They constantly irritated my eyes and if I went out on a windy day, even mildy windy, I could feel them moving around on my eyes. I always thought they we going to fall out.

Of course, that was 3 years ago, so things might have changed since then.

It depends on how bad your astigmatism is. I have a slight astigmatism, and I wear soft contacts. The brand I wear is Focus Toric, and they are thicker on the bottom so that they rotate to the correct position. I haven’t noticed any difference in comfort between these (which I’ve been using for 4+ years) and the non-toric ones.

I meant to add:

It’s something you get used to. Once the contacts are in, I don’t notice them at all. I’ve never really had problems putting them in.

Years ago this was the case, but JeffB is correct - many people with astigmastism can now wear soft contact now (including me). There are several manufacturer of soft toric lenses. They aren’t available in daily wear yet, though. I use the two week disposable type.

I’d heard this, too, for many years, but occassionally checked in with my optomitrist about contact options. At my last exam this past spring I asked again and was told that there were now soft contact lenses available that work really well with most astigmatisms. The brand my doctor recommended and which I am now wearing are Sunsoft. They are significantly thicker than standard soft contacts (about 1-2 mm) which, IMHO, is a bit of a benefit as they’re almost impossible to accidentally invert. Mine are daily wear (I take them out at night) and are switched out every 3 months. So definitely inquire the next time you have an eye exam. The only thing I was disappointed about was that I couldn’t get cool colored ones in my prescription. :slight_smile:

As someone else said, you do get used to it. However, be prepared for some frustration the first time you try to put them in. My optomitrist’s scheduled a 45 minute “training” session with me when mine first arrived and made sure I was able to put them in and take them out without too much hassle. And because my lenses are kind of thick, I do sometimes feel a bit “dry eyed” towards the end of the day or if the air in my office/house is too dry. Fortunately my optomitrist’s have a special plan to go with contacts that keeps me supplied with as many solutions and eye drops as I need…

Interesting – my moderate astigmatism keeps me from wearing my glasses because whenever the angle of my head changes my eyeballs rotate, my glasses miscorrect the astigmatism and my vision gets all blurry. Since my myopia is mild my solution is usually just to leave my glasses off altogether, but after a few hours of reading or work this causes squinting headaches. Maybe I should investigate contacts which would presumably rotate along with my eyeball, at least for short periods.


I also have astigmatism, and I’ve been wearing contacts since I was in 8th grade. Always soft, never hard, but I was only prescribed toric lenses within the last 15 years. What a world of difference! I had problems (but kept wearing them) with wearing contacts until toric - but now they fit like a glove and I can’t even tell they’re in. I also wear the Focus Toric.

I’m a bit disturbed by the addicitve quality of eye drops. My eyes have lost some of their own natural ability to lubricate due to frequent administration of eye drops. And my eyes are naturally irritated by changes in air convection as well as temperature. I use drops daily, if not multiple times in a day.

If anyone with a similar situation is reading this, can you recommend a product that can accomodate my preferences?

I have fairly bad astigmatism and bought my first pair of soft toric extended wear lenses in 1986. They certainly were not inexpensive. Now I use B&L soft toric two week disposables which are quite affordable, and although the new “no scrub” solutions still need about 30 secods of scrubbing, at least for me, it’s worlds better than years ago using Aosept and other means of cleaning.

So let’s see:

Recommended products:

Focus Tonic

I’ve been wearing gas permeable (between hard and soft) lenses to correct astigmatism of 20-400, 20-200. I wear them up to 14-hours a day with no problems.

The only difficulty I have is during my eye exams, when I need to tell the Doc which line I can see. There I’m limited to using one eye and I notice the lens seems to rotate with each blink, making the letters go slightly in and out of focus.

Can’t speak to soft lenses, which seems to be the focus of the responses thus far.

I wear Acuue contacts and for close work I use over the counter reading glasses, many others do this too.

I’ve got pretty bad astigmatism. Just recently got contacts (soft lenses). Brand is “SofLens”.

I also have a horrible Thing about anything coming near my eye. Took me quite a while to get used to putting them in, it’s still tough, and I tend to let my eyes dry out too much (can’t stand to put eyedrops in), but it’s doable. Try and find someone really really patient to help you the first couple times.

I used to wear the Focus torics. Now I wear Acuvue torics.

The Focus lenses worked well with my vision, but the Acuvue lenses seem to fit better on my eye. Every once in a while the Focus lenses would rotate on me a little.

However, the Acuvue lenses seem to dry out on me a little more. I wore the Focus lenses 16-20 hours straight sometimes with no problem. With the Acuvue lenses, I’m looking for eyedrops after 10-12 hours.

Overall, I prefer Acuvue, and just happened to put more order in for a refill this weekend.

Now if I could just get rid of these floaters.

I used to make the apparatus that tests toric soft contact lenses. Toric lenses (which aren’t donut-shaped, as the name might suggest – they’re the shape you get if you slice a bit off the outside of a bagel) have different powers along two mutually perpendicular directions, which is exactl what you need to correct asigmatism (which is when your eye focuses at different points for two mutually perpendicular irections). I suppose that, years ago, it was hard to make “soft” lenses that had the correct toric shape. That’s been changed for well over a decade. I’ve seen the production equipment in action, and I’ve measured and verified the lenses myself – hey’re very good.

As noted above, the lens is thicker at the botom, which keeps them correctly oriented. It’s no the weight that does it – the weight difference isn’t all that great, and there’s enough friction to resist it anyway - it’s the “sweeping” motion of the closing eyelid that keeps it oriented.
By the way, I have astigmatism, but I wear glasses. I’m not fond of sticking things in my eye. Coward.

Depending on the amount of astigmatism, you may be able to get buy with a regular lens.

I myself should wear a toric lens in the right eye, but suddenly that eye seems to have become a lens maker’s nightmare: none of the ones I tried lasted more than two weeks. (Instead of the lens being bowl shaped, it started looking more like a half-football, and variations thereof. And the ones that shouldn’t have worked were working the best.)

However, wearing a non-toric lens in an eye that really should wear one leads to blurry spots. (In my case, I find the blurryness preferable to having the toric lens either a) rotated out of posistion or b) freaking out on my eye.)

You may end up going thorugh many a trial lens before finding a brand/prescription that works well for you: don’t let that discourage you!

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