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What Are Toric Lenses?

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a woman holds a toric contact lens on her finger

At one point, when contact lenses were first gaining popularity as an alternative to wearing glasses, the options were limited. However, as science and technology improve, there are now many different special contact lenses available.

Toric lenses are one such special lens available for those who have astigmatism. These lenses are available as both soft and rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses. To be fit with toric lenses, you’ll need to book a contact lens fitting exam with your optometrist. They will take measurements of your eye to ensure that a toric lens is the right fit. Then they can give you your options between soft or RGP.

What’s Special About a Toric Contact Lens?

The main thing that sets a toric lens apart is their shape. A regular contact lens has a spherical shape. If you picture a slice of a basketball, that’s the typical shape of a normal lens. Whereas a toric lens has a donut-like shape. This odd shape is how a toric lens can correct astigmatism.

Astigmatism is essentially a misshapen cornea. In the past, hard contact lenses were the preferred treatment for this refractive error because they helped reshape the eye slightly to correct the astigmatism. Unfortunately, hard contact lenses have some pitfalls regarding long-term eye health.

A toric lens in soft or RGP materials gives a healthier option for correcting mild or moderate astigmatism.

Another interesting thing about toric lenses is that they are weighted. They are designed to align to a specific axis on your eye, so as you blink, they will rotate on your eye to the desired position. To put it into perspective, a regular lens is the same all the way around. So, no matter how it sits in your eye, your vision shouldn’t change.

Toric Lenses vs. Regular Lenses

Regarding refractive errors, it’s possible to have more than one. For example, someone may have trouble focusing on distant objects due to myopia and astigmatism. In a situation like this, most normal contact lenses will only correct myopia.

If the astigmatism is mild enough, correcting myopia may be enough. However, with a toric lens, you don’t have to choose one or the other because the correct lens will correct both.

a hand holds a contact lens case containing toric lenses

Advantages and Disadvantages of Toric Lenses

No matter how neat the technology is, toric lenses still aren’t the perfect solution in all situations. They have their advantages and disadvantages.


Some of the advantages of toric lenses include:

  • They can correct corneal shape without surgery
  • Typically stay in place better (or return to place quickly)
  • Correct multiple refractive errors with one lens
  • Several options are available to ensure you get the perfect fit for your eye


Some of the disadvantages of toric lenses include:

  • Because the lens has to be in your eye a certain way, it can cause some blurry vision as it realigns in your eye after moving
  • Typically more expensive than regular contact lenses
  • The fitting process can be long, as you may have to try several brands to find a toric lens that fits properly

General Fitting Procedure for Toric Lenses

Thanks to incredible technological advances, toric lens fitting isn’t guesswork. After your eye doctor confirms your general eye health is good enough for the contact lenses, they will take several measurements of your eye.

These measurements give the optometrist a good idea of which lenses will be the best for your eyes. Depending on the situation, they may need to special-order your trial lenses based on their findings. However, often you will be sent home with a trial pair after demonstrating the ability to insert and remove the contact lenses.

Once you’ve got the right lens for your eyes, your eye doctor will likely want to see you for a follow-up appointment once your eyes have adjusted to the new lenses.

Some things your eye doctor may look for to ensure the proper fit include:

  • How comfortable the lenses are in your eyes
  • How well the lenses stay in place
  • Visual acuity

For some people, this can be a lengthy process, which may turn some people off trying toric lenses. However, most people would agree that the benefits of these contacts far outweigh any inconveniences.

Talk to Your Optometrist About Your Options

Toric lenses may be a great option if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to solve vision issues. The first step is booking an appointment with your optometrist to discuss whether you’re a candidate for toric lenses.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.   Our professional staff at Family Focus Eyecare is happy to answer your questions and book you an appointment to see the optometrist. When you book the appointment, let us know you also want a contact lens fitting. This way, the optometrist will be prepared to take any and all necessary eye measurements.

Written by Dr. Joseph Rich

Dr. Joseph D. Rich moved to Columbia shortly after completing his doctorate at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. Growing up and completing his undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, and business management at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO, Dr. Rich considers himself a full-fledged Mizzou fan and actively enjoys going to as many games as possible.
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