Eye Health

Updated 16 January 2015

I have astigmatism – can I wear contacts?

Many people with astigmatism are under the impression that they can’t wear contact lenses. But with the toric lenses available nowadays that’s no longer true. Soft and rigid gas permeable toric lenses are available.

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Many people with astigmatism are under the impression that they can’t wear contact lenses. But with the toric lenses available nowadays that’s no longer true. Soft and rigid gas permeable toric lenses are available.

Astigmatism is a long word for distorted vision; you see a perfectly round tennis ball as egg-shaped, for example. It’s a result of having an irregularly shaped cornea. That’s the clear tissue at the front of the eye that covers its iris and pupil.

If you suffer from astigmatism you may also have myopia or hyeropia - nearsightedness or farsightedness for the rest of us. So you’ll probably need a contact lens that corrects the myopic or hyperopic condition as well as the astigmatism.

They’re called toric lenses and they’re nifty little devices, because they combine the ability to correct more than defect, and they also have a stabilizing mechanism that keeps them flush with your eyeball when you move it or blink.

You might not even need a toric lens if your astigmatism is a minor one. Often a normal spherical lens will suffice. The most important point is that the lens fits properly. Your optometrist will help.

 

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Optometrist

Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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