The ABC’s of Toric Lenses

First and foremost, what are Toric lenses? They are contact lenses specially designed to correct astigmatism and sometimes even myopia (near-sightedness) or hyperopia (Far-sightedness). Astigmatism is an eye condition that results in blurry vision and headaches because the shape of the cornea is irregular, not totally spherical. Toric contact lenses combine two different powers or curvatures to correct for these eye conditions.

Also, because toric lenses are a solution to an irregularly-shaped cornea, they need a certain stabilizing method to keep the contact lenses in place. Some toric contact lenses use a “ballast” at the bottom of the contact lenses to keep them in place, to prevent them from rotating. If the lenses rotate in the eyes, visual acuity is compromised. These bottom-ballasted contact lenses are thicker at the bottom, weighted down somewhat. Other torics have two ballast zones on the side, while others have 4 stabilizing zones. These lenses are also made to be thinner on the edges and thicker in the middle to minimize lens-lid interaction especially during blinking.

Modern technology has developed different types of Toric lenses. Now, there are daily disposables, frequent replacement and extended wear Toric lenses. There are even color-changing or color-enhancing Toric lenses but these will depend on your prescription. Most Toric lenses also have some form of moisture-retention agent that keep your lenses fresh and comfortable to wear all day long.

As you can expect, the fitting of Toric lenses will be more difficult than your regular contact lenses. Your eye practitioner has to decide on the type of lens, whether a soft contact lens or a rigid gas permeable (RGP) one will fit you better. Your eye practitioner will most likely use a Trial and Error method to get the perfect fit. He also has to factor in your lifestyle so he can determine the replacement schedule for your lens.

The great thing is that there are many options to consider. This is certainly better than not having anything at all. Now, astigmatism isn’t going to get in the way of your life. With toric contact lenses, you’re taking control of it.

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