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Toric contact lenses have been specifically designed to correct an eye disorder called astigmatism, they do this by evening out the refractive anomalies caused by an imperfection to the curvature of the cornea or lens. They do this by bending and refocusing the light entering your eye to provide clear accurate vision. Most toric contact lenses do this using prism ballast technology, whereby the bottom of the contact lens is a little thicker and heavier enabling the lens to stay in place when blinking.

If you have been prescribed Toric contact lenses then you will have been diagnosed with astigmatism, but you are not alone, astigmatism is currently one of the most common eye disorders patients present to Optometrists.

Astigmatism is defined by a deviation in the curvature of the eye, a regular eye has the shape similar to a football, whereas an astigmatic eye has a shape similar to a rugby ball, this can cause(1) 

  • Blurred Vision
  • Headaches
  • Squinting 
  • Eye Strain

You will typically notice some of these warning signs of astigmatism in early life, but you may notice the onset at any age. Most people with astigmatism also have some other type of refractive error like short sightedness or long sightedness.

You will notice your Toric contact lens prescription looks a little different to a regular contact lens prescription this is because a toric contact lens requires additional measurements.All contact lenses prescriptions require the measurements for

  • Sphere - Power of the lens and is preceded by a + or minus depending if you are long sighted or short sighted
  • BC - Base curve of the lens
  • Dia - Diameter of the lens

A prescription for astigmatism and Toric lenses will also include

  1. Axis - Defines where on your cornea the astigmatism is located and is shown as a degree between 1 and 180 
  2. Cyl - The amount of astigmatism - how flat or irregular your eye is

Your Toric prescription will look similar to this

Name of Contact LensBCDIASPHCYLAXIS
Left Eye8.514.5-2.25*-1.75180
Right Eye8.514.5-1.75*-1.25180

*If you are long sighted this will preceded by a + sign and if you are neither short or long sighted the value will be 0.00

Key Points

Ideal for people with astigmatism

Available in Daily, two weekly and monthly disposables, plus extended wear

Available in Hydrogel and Silicone Hydrogel

Types Of Toric Contact Lenses

Toric contact lenses come in a wide range of fittings and can correct short sightedness and long sightedness, they are available as

  • Regular Hydrogel Contact Lenses made from gel-like, water containing polymers, enabling the contact lenses to be extremely thin and malleable. See Dailies AquaComfort Plus
  • Silicone Hydrogel Contact lenses - Loved by Optometrists, as the addition of silicone allows more oxygen to reach the cornea creating a safer, healthier contact lens (1). See Biofinity Toric

They are also available in different wearing modes

  • Daily Disposable Contact Lenses
    Daily contact lenses are intended to be worn for a single day and then thrown out each evening, which makes these the easiest contact lenses to adjust to and the healthiest option for your eyes. 1 Day Acuvue Moist for astigmatism
  • Two Weekly Disposable Contact Lenses
    Two weekly lenses are designed to be worn for up to 14 days. They require a routine of nightly removal and cleaning, before storing overnight and cleaned each morning before reinsertion. Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism
  • Monthly Disposable Contact Lenses
    Monthly contact lenses are designed to be worn on a daily basis for up to one month, they require the user to remove them each evening, clean and store them in contact lens solution overnight, before rinsing them and inserting them each morning. Biomedics Toric
  • Extended Wear Contact Lenses
    Also referred to as continuous wear contact lenses, have been designed to be worn continuously - that's even when you’re sleeping- from between 7 to 30 days, depending on the type of contact lens and the recommendation of your Optometrist. Biofinity Toric

Our Customers Top 5 Toric Contact Lenses

Biofinity Toric is a silicone hydrogel contact lens made by CooperVision's using their breakthrough Aquaform technology that allows greater levels of oxygen to freely flow through the contact lens to the eye.
Our customers award then a 4.8*

Uses Accelerated Stabilisation Design which has four point stabilisation, providing crisp stable vision throughout the day, contains Lacreon moisture technology providing blink resistant moisture retention, whilst helping reduce irritation.
Our customers award them 4.8*

Manufactured by Alcon, using 'Lightstream Technology' for a thin, streamlined contact lenses that provide good edge comfort and crystal clear vision. In addition, the contact lenses use a blink activated moisture technology to deliver refreshing comfort all day.
Our customers award them 4.6*

A 2 weekly Toric contact lens from Johnson & Johnson.  Their BLINK STABILIZED® design helps to minimise movement of the contact lenses keeping vision clear and stable throughout the day.

An advanced silicone hydrogel contact lens that combines a new level of comfort with enhanced Oxygen capability ( Up to 5 times greater oxygen transmissibility than traditional soft contact lenses), which provides superior all day comfort in a lens that is healthy for your eyes.

How Much Do Toric Contact Lenses Cost

Toric contact lenses are slightly more costly than regular contact lenses, this is because they are complex in design, plus the fitting of toric lenses requires more expertise and takes longer, so you may find that your Optometrist charges a little more for a Toric contact lens fitting than a regular contact lens fitting.
If you have an amount of astigmatism that needs correcting with contact lenses you will find this extra expense well worth it so that you can wear contact lenses.As a comparison you can see the difference in cost with this example
1 Day Acuvue Moist retails at £23.99 where as 1 Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism retails at £31.50 for 30 lenses assuming you need 2 boxes per month that works out at an extra £15.02 per month for Daily disposable toric lenses.

If you want to go for Monthly disposables then Biomedics Evolution retail at £20.00 per box of 6 and Biomedics Toric £44.75 for 6 lenses that’s a £49.50 difference over 6 months, so just £8.25 extra per month for Toric contact lenses.

Why Are Toric Contact Lenses Different To Regular Contact Lenses

Regular contact lenses have a spherical shape not unlike a football and allows the focal power to remain the same throughout the lens, meaning they do not need to be stabalised as you will see and focus just as well if the lens rotates slightly. Toric contact lenses are Torus shaped so more like a rugby ball and have different focal points in different areas, so to correct your astigmatism and allow you to focus clearly they need to remain in place, to enable this they are commonly weighted at the bottom in such a way as to prevent rotation.The fitting of Toric contact lenses can be more difficult than regular contact lenses, the Optometrist will often trial a few different brands to see which one offers the best fit and most comfort.

Getting The Best Out Of Your Toric Contact Lenses

Toric contact lenses do not require any special handling, so treat them as you would any other contact lens, make sure you wear them and care for them, as recommended by your Optometrist, so if you are wearing 

  • Daily disposable contact lenses -you can simply throw the lenses out each evening and insert a fresh new pair each morning.
  • Monthly or Two disposable contact lenses - need to be removed every night, cleaned with an approved contact lens solution and stored in a contact lens case with fresh solution using this procedure:

Morning

  • Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling your contact lenses
  • Remove your contact lens from it’s storage case, apply a few drops of your recommended solution on the front and back of the lens and rub gently with your index finger
  • Insert your contact lens
  • Empty your contact lens case of solution and let it air dry

Evening

  • Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling your contact lenses
  • Remove contact lens from your eye, apply a few drops of your recommended solution on the front and back of the lens and rub gently with your index finger
  • Store the lens in your contact lens case and submerge with fresh solution

Dispose of two weekly contact lenses after 14 days and monthly contact lenses after 30 days

Extended wear contact lenses - remember to set a reminder to remove your lenses after 30 days, or less, if recommended by your Optometrist.

Best Toric Contact Lenses For

Sensitive EyesDry EyesActive LifestyleBest ValueBest UV Protection
Biofinity Toric Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric Biofinity Toric Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism

FAQ's

Why Do I need Toric Contact Lenses

If your Optometrist has recommended Toric contact lenses then you have some degree of astigmatism.
Astigmatism remains one of the most common eye conditions Optometrist treat on a daily basis. According to a recent study carried out in the UK almost 50% of spectacle wearers had some degree of astigmatism in one or both eyes(3).
Astigmatism is when your eye or eyes are not completely spherical in shape but more Torus shaped, basically instead of being shaped similar to a football the eye of an astigmatic person is more rugby ball shaped. To find out more check out our informative guide What is Astigmatism?

What Are Toric Contact Lenses

Toric contact lenses are designed to correct astigmatism.

Toric contact lenses are Torus shaped and have different focal points in different areas, so to correct your astigmatism they need to remain in place, to enable this, they are commonly weighted at the bottom in such a way as to prevent rotation. They do this whilst also correcting your vision.

On occasions you can be prescribed toric contact lenses to correct astigmatism even if you have no vision problems, in this case your Optometrist will prescribe plano - zero power or 0.00 - toric contact lenses.

Can You Sleep In Toric Contact Lenses

It will depend on the contact lens.
Most Toric contact lenses are not designed to be slept in as they do not allow enough oxygen through to your eye when the eyelids are closed for extended periods, however, some Toric contact lenses have been designed to be worn overnight if recommended to do so by your Optometrist - these toric contact lenses will be made from silicone hydrogel and will be sold as extended wear or continuous wear contact lenses and can be worn for 7, 14 or 30 days continuously.

Why Are Toric Contact Lenses So Expensive

Toric contact lenses are slightly more costly than regular contact lenses, this is because they are complex in design, plus the fitting of Toric lenses requires more expertise and takes longer, beacause an astigmatic eye is much more unique, you may find that your Optometrist charges more for a Toric contact lens fitting than a regular contact lens fitting.

References

1 https://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/condition/astigmatis...
2. Hydrogel vs Silicone Hydrogel Lense Author:Dr. Russel Lazarus
Published: November 4, 2021
https://www.optometrists.org/general-practice-opto...
3. BCLA https://bcla.org.uk/Public/Consumer/Astigmatism_an...

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
John qualified from Aston University in 1980, he has authored for Contactlenses.co.uk over the last 20 years, bringing his expertise to visitors to the site and providing valuable optical advice to customer questions throughout the years. He has been featured by several leading publications including The Express and ITProPortal