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Can I Wear Contacts If I Have Astigmatism?

brunette girl smiling 640Many people choose to wear contact lenses to correct their vision due to the freedom and convenience contacts provide. But for those with astigmatism, wearing contact lenses isn’t always simple.

At Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Bayside Family Eyecare in Bayside we offer specialized contact lenses that provide clear and comfortable vision, even if you have moderate to severe astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. The abnormal cornea causes light to disperse unevenly into the eye, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Other symptoms of astigmatism can include headaches, eye strain, and difficulties with reading or using digital devices.

Astigmatism may be congenital, meaning that you are born with the condition, or you can develop it later in life. People with astigmatism usually also have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), two of the most common refractive errors.

Which Contact Lenses Can You Wear With Astigmatism?

Although traditional soft contact lenses may not be suitable for patients with astigmatism, there are two other types of contact lenses specifically designed for those with unusually shaped corneas.

Toric Contact Lenses

Toric lenses are a popular choice for people with mild astigmatism. Patients with higher levels of astigmatism, however, generally require a higher level of expertise.

Toric lenses are designed to provide clear vision and a comfortable fit. There are two main issues with toric lenses. First, the range of corrective powers is limited, so patients with moderate to high levels of astigmatism may not be able to wear toric contacts. Second, these lenses need to rotate on the cornea to find the correct position and orientation, leading these lenses to occasionally provide unstable or varying clarity of vision.

Toric lenses are available in either soft disposable or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens materials.

Scleral Contact Lenses

Unlike standard lenses, scleral lenses vault over the cornea and sit on the sclera (the white of the eye). These lenses do not have the issues faced by toric lenses as they are individually designed for each patient and do not sit on the cornea. By vaulting over the cornea, scleral lenses create a liquid reservoir between your cornea and the lens. This dome provides a continually hydrating environment that protects the cornea, promotes healing, and increases comfort.

Scleral lenses have become a staple therapeutic tool in the visual rehabilitation of patients with astigmatism and other corneal irregularities. They also can provide better visual acuity than standard soft lenses thanks to their rigid surface and personalized fit. Scleral lenses have proven to be an excellent solution for patients with astigmatism that appreciate sharp and comfortable vision.

How We Can Help

At Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Bayside Family Eyecare, we can provide you with customized toric or scleral contact lenses that are tailor-made for patients with astigmatism or other corneal irregularities, as well as hard-to-fit eyes. By taking precise and detailed measurements of your cornea, we will be able to ensure a secure fit and crisp, clear vision. To learn more information or to schedule your consultation, call us today.

Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Bayside Family Eyecare serves patients from Bayside, Flushing, Whitestone, Kew Garden Hills, and throughout NY.

5 Facts About Scleral Lenses

happy teenagers 640Scleral contact lenses are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the “white” of the eye (the sclera). In doing so, the lenses form a dome over the irregular cornea that provides clear and comfortable vision for individuals with keratoconus, dry eye and other ocular surface conditions.

Here are 5 facts about scleral lenses and why they are a great choice for many patients.

1- They work when nothing else will.

Patients with an irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition or complications following surgery, can at times develop vision problems that cannot be corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses. In such cases, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, stable, secure fit, and improved vision.

For those with keratoconus, scleral contact lenses provide advanced care that resolves visual distortions and creates clear vision while providing a comfortable wearing experience.

In addition to helping those with keratoconus, scleral lenses are also recommended for those with an astigmatism, particularly for high astigmatism that other contacts cannot comfortably correct.

2- Scleral contacts provide relief for those who suffer from dry eye.

Unlike traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses minimize eye irritation. Since they vault over the dry, irritated cornea and sit on the sclera, they offer comfort and clear vision. Sclerals leave a space between the lens and the cornea containing a liquid reservoir of artificial tears that provides a protective cushion that soothes the eye.

This is crucial, because even blinking can irritate the eye or injure the cornea due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea. Scleral lenses can act as a shield between a patient’s eyes and their eyelids, protecting the eyes from further irritation or damage.

3- Sclerals are long lasting lenses.

Constructed from high quality, durable materials, these rigid gas permeable contacts typically last 1-3 years. Therefore, while the initial cost of scleral lenses is higher than standard contacts, you’ll benefit from maximum value for your money.

While scleral lenses are long lasting, it is important to book follow up visits with your eye doctor to determine when it’s time to replace them with a new pair, so as not to harm your cornea.

4- Scleral contacts are worth the cost

People assume that because sclerals must be fitted and customized to fit each individual eye, they are exorbitantly expensive. In fact, the lenses are often covered by insurance and certain vision and health savings plans.

These lenses provide enough of an improvement over regular lenses — in both comfort and vision — to justify the investment.

5- Scleral lenses are very comfortable.

Some people mistakenly assume that rigid contacts aren’t comfortable. In reality, scleral contact lenses are very comfortable because they don’t touch the cornea and lubricate the eyes.

If you have irregular corneas, dry eye or hard-to-fit eyes, scleral lenses may be right for you. Find out more about scleral lenses by scheduling an eye exam at Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Bayside Family Eyecare today!

Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Bayside Family Eyecare serves patients from Bayside, Flushing, Whitestone and Kew Garden Hills, throughout NY.

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