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There are few eye terms more misunderstood by the general public than astigmatism. As a matter of fact, a survey was done. 85 % of people who said that their eye doctor explained astigmatism to them, said that they had no idea what astigmatism actually was. It is a bit difficult to explain but hopefully the information below will help clarify this optical problem for you.

 
Astigmatism Art

Oh No! The Dreaded Astigmatism

The last time you had your eyes examined you were told that you have this "disease" called astigmatism and you thought to yourself that you only have a few months to live. After overcoming your initial horror, the doctor may have made some reference to your eyes being shaped like "footballs." You inquired about contact lenses only to be told that because of your astigmatism, contact lenses were out of the question. Possibly you were fit into contact lenses but have always noticed that the vision is better through your glasses than through those special contact lenses that have the "weights" in them. All this, and you still really donít understand astigmatism and why contacts wonít work.

 

The Funhouse

Astigmatism is not some terminal disease nor is it where your eyes are going to be requested by the Dolphins to play their next game. Astigmatism is only an optical problem that creates a regularly "distorted" image for both close and far away viewing. This is very much like those funhouse mirrors. You can tell that you are looking at your own reflection but there is obviously something very different about the way you appear there as compared to your home mirror. You are "distorted" so that you appear short and squat or tall and slender or some other variation. This effect is being created by the mirror that contains astigmatism in its reflective surface and as you can see, the effect is not distance dependent.

 

Correction Options

"The times have changed..."

Astigmatism is corrected through optical means. Although glasses are routinely used to correct astigmatism, contact lenses have not really been used to their fullest potential to treat this condition. This is because in the past the only contact lens options were either hard lenses or difficult to reproduce soft lenses. The times have changed and this certainly is no longer the case. It is even possible to use hybrid contact lenses for correction, and the wonderful procedure of Orthokeratology is even an option. All of these are still good treatment options even if you need a bifocal!

 

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft lens technology has matured tremendously, and so available are custom lenses to address the highest amounts of astigmatism in addition to lenses that can be frequently (like disposables) replaced for lower amounts of astigmatism. There are astigmatism correcting contact lenses that are available to change your eye color.

 

Gas Permeable Lenses

"...the best vision possible."

Superior to even these lenses are the newest generation of oxygen permeable lenses that will universally provide superior vision as compared with glasses or soft contact lenses. These lenses should not be confused with the old hard lenses of twenty years ago. These lenses are healthy, comfortable, easy to take care of, durable, cost effective, and give the best vision possible.

 

Time To Act

As you can see there are actually many options in contact lenses for the person who has astigmatism. The correction of astigmatism is not only possible with contact lenses but should actually provide better vision than glasses. If you are wearing contact lenses that do not give you better vision than your glasses you probably need to be in a different type of lens. If you are one of the many people who have always dreamt of contact lenses but have been told in the past that your astigmatism prevented that, it is time to ask again.