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What Are Toric Contact Lenses?

Phoebe Jade

Written By:

Phoebe Jade

Updated: 23 July 2024 •  
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If you wear contact lenses, you’ve probably heard of toric lenses. But do you know what they are and how they differ from regular contact lenses?
 
In this article, we’ll look into toric lenses and provide the necessary information.
 

What are toric contact lenses & how they work

Toric contact lenses are a type of contact lens designed to correct astigmatism.
 
This common vision problem happens when the cornea (the eye’s clear front surface) is irregularly shaped, causing blurry or distorted vision. While regular contact lenses can help correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, they may not be effective in correcting astigmatism. That’s where toric lenses come in.
 
Toric lenses are different from regular contact lenses in a few ways. First, they have a different shape. Instead of being perfectly round like traditional contact lenses, toric lenses are shaped like a slice of a torus (a doughnut shape). This unique shape allows them to stay in place on the eye and provide consistent correction for astigmatism.
 
thin zones in toric contact lens

Toric contact lenses have a unique shape that allows them to stay in place and correct astigmatism. Source: Chegg

 
Another key difference between toric lenses and regular contact lenses is that toric lenses have different powers in different parts of the lens. This is called a “cylinder” power, which allows the lens to correct astigmatism. Regular contact lenses only have one power across the entire lens.
 

What are the types of toric contact lenses?

Regarding toric lenses, there are two main types of materials: soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP). Soft toric lenses are the most common and are more comfortable for most people. A flexible material is used to make these lenses, which molds to the shape of your eye. They are available in daily, bi-weekly, monthly, or yearly disposable options.
 
On the other hand, RGP toric lenses are made of a more rigid material. This may make them less comfortable for some people, especially during the initial adjustment period. However, RGP toric lenses can provide sharper vision for some individuals, particularly those with higher levels of astigmatism or irregular corneas.
 
Not everyone is a good candidate for RGP toric lenses. Also, they require more careful fitting and monitoring than soft toric lenses. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, your opthalmologist can help you choose which type of toric lens is best for you.
 

What should I consider when choosing toric contact lenses?

1. The type of astigmatism that you have

 
Astigmatism comes in two categories – regular and irregular. Regular astigmatism is the most common, and you can correct the condition with toric contact lenses. On the other hand, irregular astigmatism can be more challenging to fix and may require different treatments.[1]
 

2. The material you prefer

 
As mentioned, toric lenses come in soft and rigid gas-permeable materials. Soft lenses are more common and tend to be more comfortable, but RGP lenses may provide sharper vision for some people.
 
RGP lenses also have a higher oxygen permeability compared to soft lenses. This permeability means more oxygen can reach the cornea, keeping your eyes healthier and reducing the risk of certain complications.
 
hard vs soft contact lenses

Toric contact lenses can be RGP lenses (also called hard lenses) or soft lenses. Source: Nature

 

3. Proper contact lens fitting

 
Proper fitting of toric lenses is essential to ensure they stay in place on the eye and provide effective correction. Your opthalmologist will measure your eye’s curvature and ensure the lens fits securely and comfortably.
 
It’s worth noting that toric contact lenses may be more expensive than regular contact lenses due to their specialized design and fitting process.
Your eye doctor must perform a comprehensive eye exam and take measurements carefully to determine the precise prescription for your toric lenses. This process is critical because different parts of toric lenses have different powers.
 
If you have astigmatism but are not a good candidate for toric lenses, glasses may be a more affordable alternative.
 

Quick tips for wearing toric contact lenses

To wear toric contact lenses comfortably and effectively, you can do these things:
 

1. Make sure you follow the instructions

 
Ensure you read carefully and follow the instructions for your toric lenses, including how to insert and remove them, how long to wear them, and how to clean and store them.
 
person removing contact lens from a case

Follow instructions carefully when using and handling Toric contact lenses.

 

2. Always practice good hygiene

 
Keeping your hands and lenses clean prevents infections and irritation. Wash your hands well before touching your lenses, and use a recommended contact lens solution to clean and disinfect them.
 

3. Be patient – getting used to contacts takes time

 
Getting used to toric lenses may take time, especially if you’re new to contacts. Don’t get discouraged if you experience some initial discomfort or blurry vision. Your eyes will need time to adjust to the lenses and find the best position for correction.
 

4. Stick to a regular wearing schedule

 
Depending on your lens type, you may need to replace your toric lenses daily, bi-weekly, monthly, or yearly. Make sure to stick to your recommended wearing schedule and avoid wearing your lenses longer than recommended, as this can increase your risk of eye infections and other complications.
 

5. Remember to keep your eyes hydrated

 
Dry eyes can be a common problem for contact lens wearers, especially those with astigmatism. Drink lots of water and use lubricating eye drops to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
 
Remember, don’t hesitate to contact your eye doctor with concerns or questions about wearing toric contact lenses. They can give you personalized advice and guidance to help ensure your lenses are working effectively and comfortably for your unique needs.
 

Toric contact lenses corrects astigmatism

So, what are toric contact lenses? They’re a specialized type of contact lens that corrects astigmatism. They have a unique shape and power distribution, allowing consistent blurry or distorted vision correction.
 
If you have astigmatism, talk to your eye doctor to see if toric lenses may be a good option.
 

References

  • “Handling Irregular Astigmatism”, American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Phoebe Jade

Written by:

Phoebe Jade

Phoebe is a registered nurse, licensed teacher and writer who's passionate about creating content that educates and inspires.