Glasses and Astigmatism – Are Bifocals the Best Lenses?

An astigmatism in your eye simply means that the eye is shaped a little differently than normal. This can distort your vision, but there are several types of lenses that can correct this—are bifocals the best lenses for astigmatism?

Bifocals are a great option for astigmatism if you have other conditions in the eye and you need two different prescriptions in one. There are many types of regular glasses that can work well for treating your astigmatism and helping you see better. 

In this article, we will take a look at how both regular glasses and bifocals can be used to help treat your astigmatism and which one is best to improve your own eyesight. 

Are Bifocals Good for Astigmatism?

Bifocals are a type of multifocal lens that will have at least two, if not more, lens powers. These powers can be positioned based on the vision needs of the individual. Bifocals have exactly two different powers in the lens, though there are different options that may have more. 

the picture shows how one sees with and without astigmatism

With bifocals, the top part of your lens is there to make it easier to see things that are further away. Then the bottom is designed at a different power so they help the wearer see items better when they are nearby. 

Bifocals often help with two major issues including:

  • Astigmatism: This is a treatable imperfection that includes the curvature of the eye and often causes near vision or blurred distance vision. It causes the eye to be shaped more like an egg than a round ball. 
  • Presbyopia: This is a condition that causes the individual to develop farsightedness, usually due to aging in the eyes. It is common and can be present, even if there is another issue in the eyes, including astigmatism or nearsightedness. 

While bifocals are not necessarily designed to treat an astigmatism, your eye doctor can use them as one of the treatment options for your astigmatism. As long as you have the right lens in one part of the bifocal, they are effective at treating the issue and making it easier to see. 

If you happen to struggle seeing up close and things that are far away, you can rely on bifocals to help you out. This is true whether an astigmatism is present or not. Your eye doctor can discuss whether bifocals are a good treatment option for your astigmatism. 

Can I Wear Glasses with My Astigmatism?

You may be able to wear regular glasses to help solve your astigmatism as well. Since astigmatism is going to affect the cornea shape to make it shaped like a barrel rather than round like the eye is supposed to, the right type of lens can make it easier to see. 

If you have:

  • Trouble with night vision
  • Halos around lights when you drive at night. 
  • Frequent headaches that do not seem to have a cause
  • Eye strain

Then it is likely you have an astigmatism and should visit your eye doctor. They can work to add additional power to your regular glasses to help correct your astigmatism. If you see a number under the category of CYL on the prescription, this is a sign that you need glasses for the astigmatism. 

Should I Wear Glasses for Astigmatism All the Time?

This will depend on your eyesight and recommendations from your eye doctor. Some individuals will only need to wear the glasses when they feel eye strain or a headache. Others may need to prepare to wear these glasses all the time to help their astigmatism. 

Be prepared for some adjustments when you get glasses for the astigmatism. It takes a few days for your eyes to adjust and you may notice headaches to occur. If your eyes get distorted and you have severe discomfort after a few days, contact your eye doctor. 

Glasses vs. Bifocals: Which One for Astigmatism?

So, which one should you choose? This will depend on the severity of the astigmatism and what other eye conditions you need to work with. 

You should choose glasses when:

  • You have a slight astigmatism that is not too bad and easily treatable. 
  • Your eyesight is just starting to get bad. 
  • You do not have any other eye conditions to worry about. 

However, there are times when you may need to work with bifocal glasses to help with your astigmatism. 

You should use bifocals when:

  • You have a severe form of astigmatism.
  • You struggle with nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • When you need two different types of prescriptions in your glasses. 

The best way to determine the type of glasses you need is to set up an eye appointment. This will provide you with the exact prescription that you need. You and your eye doctor can decide whether glasses or bifocals are the best. 

When Should I Get Glasses for My Astigmatism?

You will often need to get glasses for your astigmatism about the same time that seeing in general gets difficult. If you struggle with some basic daily activities, including computer work, reading, or driving, it is time to visit your eye doctor. 

An astigmatism will show up in several different symptoms, though it is easy to confuse them with regular eye problems. Some of the main signs to look for when you need to visit the eye doctor and correct your astigmatism include:

  • Trouble seeing at night. 
  • Eye strain
  • Squinting more than usual
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision

In general, if you start to notice double vision, halos when you drive at night or some distortion in your vision at all, it is good to visit the eye doctor and get glasses. Even if you do not have an astigmatism, you may have eye problems that need glasses too. 

What Type of Lenses Do I Need for Astigmatism? 

There are different materials that the eye doctor can use in any corrective lenses you choose. Some are thinner while others are thicker. The one that you need will depend on the severity of the astigmatism in one or both eyes. 

The different types of lenses that you can use include:

  • CR-39: This is the standard plastic but not the thinnest. It works for mild forms of astigmatism. 
  • Polycarbonate: This is more durable than the standard plastic and works well for moderate astigmatism. Trivex works well here too if the astigmatism is in-between moderate and severe. 
  • Trivex: This option is better for severe astigmatism to help provide more of the easy viewing that you need. Because color fringes become less likely due to the better optical quality.
  • High Index: This option is best if there is a strong astigmatism that needs correcting. 

Your eye doctor can help you decide which types of lenses are the best for you. You should also discuss working with a flatter frame to help more severe forms of astigmatism and an anti-reflective coating will help reduce any glare that may show up on the surface of the glasses. 

Choosing the Right Glasses for Your Astigmatism

When you suffer from astigmatism in your eyes, whether in one or both of them, it is important to pick the right type of glasses to help correct the issue and make your vision clearer. Leaving the issue for too long without any glasses can make your eyesight, and the astigmatism, worse. 
There are many great lenses and glasses that will work well to solve your astigmatism, and bifocals can be a perfect fit. Your eye doctor can work with you to find the perfect lenses to fit your astigmatism and correct the problem, no matter how severe the astigmatism may be.

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