What Are Astigmatism Contact Lenses? Answered by a Columbia, SC Optometrist
Not everyone has the same root cause of their vision deficit. For some, blurred vision at all distances stems from astigmatism -- an irregularity in the shape of your eye. As a result, light enters your eye and doesn't reflect properly on your retina. Some people require astigmatism contact lenses from Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates, serving Columbia, SC and the surrounding area, to optimize their vision.
Astigmatism is an issue where your eye is shaped more like the back of a spoon or a football than a ball. As a result, light enters your eye and is bent. Because it doesn't reflect on the retina, you have blurry vision at all distances. You may have frequent headaches or eye strain when reading or using your computer for prolonged periods of time.
Determining Your Need for Astigmatism Contact Lenses
First, our optometrist provides you with a visual acuity test using a phoropter -- the device you look into and the eye doctor switches the magnifying powers of the lenses. You identify which row of letters you can see clearly. This test determines if you have nearsightedness and farsightedness and helps us identify the possibility of astigmatism.
Then, our optometry practitioner provides you with a test especially for diagnosing astigmatism. You look into a different pair of lenses that display images. After showing you a series of two images and you identifying which one is clearer, our optometrist can determine if you have astigmatism as well as the degree.
About Astigmatism Contact Lenses
Not all patients require specialized contacts for astigmatism. If you only have mild astigmatism, a standard pair of contacts is usually able to correct the problem. However, those with higher degrees of astigmatism benefit from specialized contacts.
One option is toric lenses or ones specifically for astigmatism. These lenses have different focusing powers in different sections, and they have a shape that better fits the contour of your eye. They're designed so they don't move much. We can find you a brand that offers daily, weekly, or monthly versions.
Another option you have is gas-permeable lenses. These ones are harder than soft lenses, so they keep their shape. You could also opt for Orthokeratology, also referred to as Ortho-k. This is a fitting process for gas-permeable contacts you wear overnight. As you sleep, these contacts support your eye and reshape it. In the morning, you remove them and your eye remains in that shape.