What Are Toric Contact Lenses (Hybrid Contact Lenses)?
In order to get a better understanding of exactly what toric contact lenses are and how they can be of benefit to people with certain visual conditions like astigmatism, it’s important to first acknowledge how they are different from regular contact lenses.
So much of the success of contact lenses in general has to do with their shape. A standard contact lens is shaped a bit like a sphere, the shape of which plays a hugely important role in how light is refracted against the lens itself and absorbed by a person’s eye. In contrast, a toric lens is shaped almost like a small cap. Instead of only addressing issues like focal length and optical power from one orientation (as is common with a standard contact lens), a toric lens actually focuses on two different orientations at the same time with each being perpendicular to the other. Because of this, the lens itself is able to provide a much deeper level of clarity in people with certain visual conditions.
Toric lenses are commonly found in a wide array of contexts, from eyeglasses to traditional contact lenses and more.
What is Astigmatism?
The major issue that toric lenses are designed to combat against is called astigmatism, which usually takes the form of blurred vision. If a person has astigmatism, they are having issues with both their horizontal and vertical focus. They likely have a difficult time getting their eye to focus on sharp objects (like the text on a page, for example), which leads to an otherwise blurry appearance.
The underlying issue has to do with improper focusing that the affected person is having with the retina in their eye. Astigmatism can be caused by a huge number of different things, from a scratch or a scar on the person’s cornea to a scattering of the eye’s crystalline lens or more. Astigmatism in general is typically not something that can be corrected with a traditional contact lens, which is why toric lenses are so important. They provide people with the deeper level of care and higher quality level of corrected vision that would not be possible without this type of advancement.
How Toric Lenses Help With Astigmatism
From the ground up, toric lenses were designed to help a person address the vision issues found in astigmatism head on. Because of the shape of the lens in relation to a person’s cornea, the refraction of light is handled differently and is directed at very specific points across the vertical and horizontal planes of a person’s eye.
Considerations About Toric Lenses (Hybrid Contact Lenses)
Because of the fact that no two patients are created in quite the same way, fitting for toric lenses becomes especially important to their general level of effectiveness. Not only do toric lenses need to be fitted properly to help make sure that they don’t shift around in a person’s eye, but they also need to maintain a proper orientation to help address the issues inherent with astigmatism in the first place.
There are also a few different types of toric lenses that Dr. Patel may choose to use depending on the specifics of the situation that he’s working with. Toric lenses can be both “hard” and “soft,” both of which has their share of advantages. Hard lenses, for example, require a smaller adjustment time. Soft toric lenses, on the other hand, are likely more comfortable and easier to manage due to the material used in their construction. Hard lenses or hybrid lenses are used in patients who have advanced irregular astigmatism or keratoconus. Such patients would not see well with a standard soft toric lens, but would see extremely well with a hard or hybrid lens. The hybrid lens is hard in the center of the lens and soft in the periphery, thereby allowing keratoconus patients to see well and be comfortable in hard lenses. Dr. Patel has extensive experience with these specialty lenses.
If you’re suffering from the effects of astigmatism or another type of visual issue, toric lenses are likely just the solution that you’ve been waiting for. It’s always important to contact a visual professional like Dr. Patel so that he can get you set up with the solution you need to actually address the specific type of problem that you’re dealing with. Please contact the ophthalmologist in Edison at Patel Eye Associates in order to assess whether or not hybrid contact lenses are right for you!