Astigmatism and contacts

I’ve had astigmatism in my left eye since 6th grade. It keeps getting worse, but it never mattered much because my right eye was fine. I could see well even without my glasses.

But my right eye is astigmatic now too. Not nearly as bad as my left, but it’s definitely noticeable when I don’t wear my glasses. Sure I can see, but not very well. There is lots of squinting, getting closer, making fonts bigger on my phone. There is a lot of cursing when I’ve realized I’ve forgotten my glasses at home.

I’m realizing I basically have to wear my glasses every day now, and I don’t love the idea. I never considered contacts before because I know it’s complicated with astigmatism. Also, mine is on a diagonal axis, and I’ve been told I’m sensitive to the position of my lenses (if they are even slightly off, things don’t look clear). Both these realities diminish my chances of finding success with contacts.

So I’m still pretty sure contacts won’t be right for me, but I wonder if I should try them out. I really don’t love the idea of wearing glasses every day for the rest of my life, and I’m a pretty big fan of seeing things clearly so… maybe I should give them a try?

Do you have contacts with astigmatism? Do you know someone who does? I’d really love to hear any experience of contacts correcting astigmatism: what worked and what didn’t. Any information you could share would be much appreciated.

8 Comments

  1. I have fairly severe astigmatism in both eyes and have worn contacts since I was 13. I’ve never had any issue — but maybe the specific kind of astigmatism involved makes a difference ( I have no idea what type I have)

  2. I have astigmatism as well, and have been wearing contacts for 15 years. I find that I see better and more clearly with contacts than I do with my glasses! Occasionally the issue you mentioned does arise; for some reason, some days my contacts just do NOT want to sit properly on my eye and it is a nuisance. However, I find taking them out and wearing my glasses for even an hour or two will almost always completely fix the problem. Sometimes when you first insert your contacts they just don’t align right. But adjusting or removing then reapplying makes a huge difference. Pain in the butt? Yes. Worth it? OH yes!

  3. I’ve worn gas permeable contacts for nearly 30 years. The optics are crisp (better than glasses as Kylie noted above), but they have some comfort issues. I’ve had many friends with even greater astigmatism have success with toric lenses, again another type of rigid lenses.

    That said, I’ve been wearing glasses much more than I have previously. I make sure to select a pair that is trendy (but not so trendy that they looked outdated before it’s time to replace).

    Change is hard. Body deterioration is hard. But there are options here, and wearing glasses (or even contacts) may not be nearly as bad as you worry.

  4. I am suuuper nearsighted and about 12 years ago my astigmatism got bad enough that I could barely see with my contacts — they wouldn’t stay in the right place on my eyes. At that time, there weren’t any disposable/soft lenses that worked for both my nearsightedenss and my astigmatism so I did two things, each for a few years (I can’t remember which I did first!)
    – I wore both soft contact lenses and glasses at the same time. I know that sounds weird but wearing the contacts made it so that my glasses didn’t have their usual thick lenses.
    – I wore gas permeable (hard) lenses. I noticed a couple people already mentioned them so I do want to throw out a caution from my experience wearing them for a few years. First, I should say I could see REALLY well with them, better than any other glasses or contacts I’ve had! BUT every tiny speck of dust that got into them was painful, much more painful than with soft lenses (it’s easier with soft lenses to just blink the dust out or move the lens over with your finger to get it out). This wasn’t a major issue for a while but then I started biking regularly and I found it really hard/painful to ride my bike with my hard contacts in. I was constantly getting tiny pieces of dust in my eyes so I was frequently in pain. I would wear sunglasses over them when I could but that didn’t fully help. So… since I know you bike around a lot, just keep that in mind if you’re considering hard lenses.

    The good thing is that by the time I ditched the hard lenses there were soft lenses available that corrected my nearsightedness and my astigmatism… and that’s what I have today! I would ask your optometrist. I’ve had the same one for a dozen years and over that time the options for contacts have greatly improved.

  5. I have astigmatism in both eyes, although I couldn’t tell you specifics about the degree. I’ve worn contact lenses since age 25 with no problems.

  6. I am legally blind without contacts or glasses and have worn contacts with my astigmatism since 8th grade!

  7. Give them a try! I have an astigmatism, and I wore soft lenses for many years, starting when I was in my last year of high school. It was such a huge confidence booster for me at that age. I stopped about 15 years ago when I developed a virus in my eye and was told I couldn’t wear them until it cleared up. After it did, I needed to replace the lenses — and they had stopped making the specific kind I’d been wearing. I had trouble finding a good fit again, and by then I had gotten out of the habit, so I just never went back to them. I still toy with the idea of trying them again. I’m less vain than I used to be as a teenager šŸ˜‰ and my eyes have gotten drier with age — but I still feel like I look better without glasses, and as others have said, the vision with contacts is much better. You can buy all kinds of cool sunglasses šŸ˜‰ & you dont’ have to worry about mucking up & then cleaning your glasses all the time. (If you live in cold climate like I do, you don’t have to worry about your glasses fogging up when you come back inside! šŸ˜‰ )

  8. Oddly enough, my good friend’s father was the inventor of the toric contact lens (which first made contacts available to people with astigmatism). That was in the 90s, so definitely a solid 20+ years ago. He opened up the intellectual rights to the world instead of making crazy money off of it because he wanted them to be available to the masses and for the technology to continue to be improved upon. He sadly died in a plane crash a couple of years later, but I’m sure technology has come a long way anyway, so hopefully contact will work for you better than you are thinking!

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