Have you heard your doctor use the word toric contacts and have wondered what makes your contact lenses different? Maybe you have always worn regular lenses, but have felt your vision is still fuzzy. You may be a candidate for a toric lens.
What are toric contacts?
Toric lenses are specific lenses designed to correct for one's astigmatism. The amount of astigmatism you have determines whether it is visually significant or not for it to be corrected. Not all astigmatism needs to be corrected with toric contacts, but most does. For more about astigmatism and the ways to correct it, please see our article on astigmatism.
When wearing your contacts, if you always have a slight blur to letters or numbers or must need to get close to street signs before you can read them, you may need a toric contact lens.
I always tell my patients its as if your eye is a football and we need to correct it with a football contact lens. If we were to use a baseball lens, the vision would never be sufficent as the lens would not match the eye.
How do toric contacts work?
Although each toric lens design is a little different, most have a "prism ballast" system. This means the lens is either thicker at the bottom or on the sides in order to keep it in place. The lens power in each meridian needs to match with the meridional power of the cornea. If the toric contact lens does not stay stable and aligned property, the vision will be blurry.
Every toric contact lens will move a little with a slight change in vision, but big movements of the lens cause extreme blur. Similarily, when a contact lens is first inserted, the lens must find its correct position. It may take a few seconds and a few blinks to line up.
Toric lenses are an extremely customized prescription, and very often may have to be special ordered.
What should I expect with toric contact lenses?
1. Toric Lens Profile
If you are making the switch from spherical lenses to toric lenses, you may notice some differences. Although the materials and brand may be the same as what you may have previously worn, the lens may feel slightly different. This may be due to the thicker lens profile in certain areas of the lens. Patients should noticed this less after several days of wear.
2. Higher Toric Lens Cost
The cost will be higher with a toric lens. The cost is tied to increased technology. Toric contact lenses are a more complicated fit for doctors and production for manufacturers.
3. Complex Contact Lens Fitting
Toric contact lenses can be very similar to running shoes. Brands that may work for someone may not work for someone else. It may takes several different trials lenses to find the bestt fit. Even then, it may not be perfect sometimes a patient's prescription may fall between the powers produced, and we must find the closest prescription.
4. Rarely In Stock
Toric contact lenses are so customized, you are unlikely to meet someone with your same prescription. Due to such a specific prescription, doctors are unlikely to have your powers in stock and will most likely have to order. They are also given fewer toric trial contact lenses so plan ahead! If a lens in on back order, it is also most likely to be a toric. Less patients who wear them leads to less production of those powers.
5. High Definition Vision
If you are a candidate for a toric lens, your vision will be so much clearer with them! At first, many patients feel like their vision is 3d just because it is so bold and crisp. Letter, numbers, and faces will be sharper at every distance. Street signs, the TV guide channel, Netflix titles, Excel documents, and emails on your phone will be crisp. The halo around car lights at night will also be improved.
What type of lens is the best toric lens?
Overall, Acuvue Oasys 1 Day for Astigmatism are overall the best toric contact lens. They offer superior stability, comfort and vision. They are also available in a lot of parameters meaning they will fit and work for many patients. Many patients are able to see a consistent 20/10 visual acuity.
Both Acuvue Vita and Coopervision's Biofinity are good monthly toric lens options. However, most patients are unable to tolerate a monthly lens past week 3 and into week 4. As a lens becomes more dirty and dry, patients may find the vision fluctuates more particularly on a computer screen.