Many people with astigmatism think they can't wear contact lenses. It may come as a surprise to know that there's actually a special kind of contact lens made just to correct astigmatism. The cornea of a normally sighted person is spherical, but in the case of someone with astigmatism, it's more oval-shaped, almost like a football. This ostensibly minor feature actually changes how light hits the retina, and as a result, vision is blurred.
The lenses eye doctors use to correct astigmatism are known as toric contact lenses. What separates these from regular contact lenses is the design. Regular lenses have one power, but toric lenses have two: one for distance vision and one for astigmatism. Unlike regular lenses, which can easily shift and have no effect on your vision, toric lenses must stay in place. Contact lenses for astigmatism are therefore heavier on the bottom, and this helps them stay in place on your eye.
There are a number of scheduling options for toric contact lens wearers, including soft disposable contact lenses, daily disposable lenses, and frequent replacement lenses. If you like to wear colored or multifocal contact lenses, there are toric lenses made to suit your needs too. Rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP, or hard contact lenses) are made from a tougher material that remains in form when you blink, and sometimes provide better vision than soft lenses. However, they are usually not as comfortable. Rest assured, there's a contact lens which perfectly suits your unique needs, and your eye care professional will find it for you.
Toric contact lens fittings may often need more time than regular contact lens fittings, due to the relative complexity of the lens. But it's worth it. With advances in eye care, individuals with astigmatism can take advantage of the benefits of contact lenses, with many options to choose from.