"Astigmatism is an optical defect in which vision is blurred due to the inability of the optics of the eye to focus a point object into a sharp focused image on the retina. This may be due to an irregular or toric curvature of the cornea or lens."
I know that 40 is just a number but, when it comes to how old you are, it's a pretty important number. Because that's the age most people notice things starting to go wrong. I've been luckier than most... except when it comes to eyesight. My eyes went very bad very quickly in my teens and then just kind of stuck there. My prescription has been the same for decades.
And then I hit 40 and astigmatism struck.
Well, not really... it had been happening for years... but it was 40 when it started to be a problem. Things were blurry and I couldn't focus well. Straight lines weren't quite straight. And it was all because my cornea was no longer shaped to focus properly, instead scattering the light on my retina...
And so it was finally time to do something about it.
Long story short? I'm wearing glasses more often than contact lenses now. In addition, through trial-and-error I've found a contact lens I like for those times I don't want to wear glasses. If you're dealing with astigmatism and care about the details, I've put my notes in an extended entry.
Otherwise... try to avoid turning 40, if you can manage it.
What works (or doesn't work) for me, is not going to be the same for everybody. Only your eye care professional can figure out what's right for you. These are just observations I've made for myself in the event they'll help anybody out who's Googling for information.
PROS AND CONS OF SOLUTIONS I'VE TRIED...
CooperVision Biofinity Toric Contact Lenses (approx. $14 per month at discount)
- PRO: Can be used for both extended and daily wear.
- PRO: Incredibly comfortable. Insanely comfortable. Probably the most comfortable lenses I have ever worn.
- PRO: Stunning distance-vision. Seriously, I feel like Superman here. I haven't seen distance objects this sharp in over a decade. These lenses make me want to re-take every vacation I've had over the past five years so I can see what I was missing.
- CON: Slippery and difficult to handle.
- CON: Notice a slight increase in light-sensitivity.
- CON: Really bad near-vision. Objects within one foot are pretty much unrecognizable. I can't read a book or see my iPhone screen at any distance without reading glasses... this is saying quite a lot, because I have long arms.
- GRADE: B- I would love these if they didn't screw up my near-vision so badly.
Bausch & Lomb PureVision 2 Toric Contact Lenses (approx. $17 per month at discount)
- PRO: Can be used for both extended and daily wear.
- CON: Horrendously fucking uncomfortable. They burn my eyes so badly that I can't even make it through one damn day wearing them. Even after sterilizing and rinsing the stupid things, they are incredibly painful. Either they are made of acid, or I have screwed up eye chemistry or something.
- CON: Fit is terrible. Even if they weren't burning through my cornea, I still couldn't wear them because they hurt like hell.
- CON: Made my eyes so light-sensitive that even a hint of sunlight caused my eyes to water uncontrollably.
- CON: Even if I ignored the burning and poor fit, I still wouldn't wear them because my vision isn't that great in them.
- GRADE: D+ Granted, I didn't give these lenses much of a fair shake, but how could I? Just the act of wearing them made me want to gouge my eyes out. Horrible lenses. A complete waste of $95.
Johnson & Johnson 1-Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism (approx. $45 per month at discount)
- PRO: Dailies! A fresh lens every day!
- PRO: Unexpectedly comfortable. Not Biofinity comfortable, but close.
- PRO: A good compromise between distance-vision and near-vision. I can see my iPhone okay, yet still have sharpness when looking at distant objects.
- PRO: No light-sensitivity issues.
- CON: DID YOU LOOK AT THAT PRICE TAG?!? Even when shopping online for a discount, the best I can do is $45 for 30x2 lenses. I appreciate the technology that must go into these things, but that's frickin' insane.
- GRADE: B If it weren't for the cost, these would be my lens of choice, hands-down. I'd hold out hope that this is because they're new and they'll cheapen up after a while, but that's probably not going to happen. Such a shame.
Free-Form, Single-Vision HD Eyeglass Lenses (approx. $325 without frame)
- PRO: An excellent compromise between distance-vision and near-vision. I can see my iPhone fairly easily, yet still have sharpness when looking at distant objects.
- PRO: The HD feature, while pricey, provides a much wider field of vision than "regular" lenses.
- PRO: Assuming that they last for two years, the monthly cost is about $13.50, my cheapest option by 50¢. Anything past 24 months is gravy.
- PRO: Since you're not sticking something to your eye, the lenses are really comfortable if you get the right frames.
- CON: They're glasses. Steam, rain, fingerprints, etc. will all have a negative effect on your vision.
- CON: If you have a strong prescription (as I do) your face gets distorted behind the lenses.
- CON: The pricing for the HD is crazy-expensive but, now that I've gone HD, I would have a hard time going back to non-HD lenses.
- GRADE: B I just prefer contacts to glasses. I always have. And yet... these are not a bad option at all for me. I see well and am comfortable at a price that is initially expensive as hell, but ultimately cheaper in the long run.
I am wearing glasses most of the time now... especially if I am working. I can see fairly near and really far with no trouble, and see better than I can in any contact lens I've tried. Even when sitting in front of a computer display or laptop for hours, my eyes don't get tired. I don't necessarily like the way I look in glasses, but there's no denying they're the best solution (vision-wise) for me.
But during those rare times when I'm not working... or when I'm traveling... I bite the bullet and pay the obscene price for the Acuvue dailies. They are comfortable and have the best compromise between near and far vision. The icing on the cake being that they're disposable so I don't have to mess around with saline solution, lens cases, cleaning supplies, and all that hassle when I'm traveling. I do have to travel with a pair of reading glasses, however... because extended reading or working gets tiring without them.
Ah to be 20 years old and astigmatism-free again!