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Contact Lenses for Astigmatism

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#1 ischua

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:56 PM

I have an astigmatism of 2.25 and I'm going to try a contact for my observing eye. Does anyone use contacts only with their scope? I'm just tired of swapping out the Dioptrx or not getting a decent view when using binoculars. Lots of options now I just need to find one that works with eyepieces.

#2 vsteblina

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:00 PM

I use contacts all the time, not just for observing.

However, here are the critical issues with contacts. With astigmatism the contacts are weighed so they get proper orientation in your eye. If your eyes are dry your contacts might get glued to the eyeball and the correction might not be applied.

The nights that I am going to observe I use LOTS of saline to keep the eye and contacts hydrated so the contact lens can rotate to correct for the astigmatism.

I have also suspected that the contact size has some impact on visual acuity. I have "small" daily wear contacts, VERY large contacts, and somewhere-in-between contacts that I currently wear.

I "think" my small daily wear contacts are the most difficult to get a good correction at night. A small mis-match can make observing an interesting activity. The larger heavier contact lenses seem to rotate and for that reason correct better than my small daily wear contacts.

Another issue to consider is that your night vision correction should be increased by about ONE diopter to compensate for increased pupil size. This is for NAKED-EYE observing ONLY.

I do have a set of contacts with the increased correction that I use for meteor showers. The naked-eye views are much better with the one diopter increase.

So my optomologist (sp) gave me three prescriptions: one for glasses, one for daytime contacts, and one for nighttime contacts.

Go to your eye doctor and talk about your need for night vision. Hey, I even sat in the dark for a half-hour and then had her measured my correction to get it right!!!

In the end, you end up getting better service. They realize that you ARE really picky about your correction.

I did get in down to 20/10 with soft contacts!!

Hope this helps. SALINE and lots of it.

#3 Joe C

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:29 PM

My Astigmatism is -.5, CYL 2.25 and axis of 110 and 70. I use Air Optics with very good success. I don't need to keep plenty of saline solution on hand. Also, they are not weighted like my last brand. Once they are seated correctly, I usually do not have any issues with them.

#4 dcoyle

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:58 AM

My strategy is to have a dioptrix for each of my larger focal length eyepieces, and leave 'em in place. It works for me because I like the TV Delos EP's. I also have a Nagler 17 T4 and 22 T4, which have enough eye relief to take a dioptrix.

The multiple dioptrix are not much more than contacts, I'll bet, and you can sell them if your eye changes a lot, or your hobby changes.

Dan

#5 WesC

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:34 PM

I tried for two years to wear contacts for my astigmatism and just couldn't do it. They would dry up so fast and it was really hard to get the axis aligned. I ended up just wearing my HD progressive glasses. Nothing like those!
I'm going to try a Televue dioptrix soon. Much easier to deal with if you have some of their EPs...

#6 Shneor

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 03:20 PM

I use contacts all the time, not just for observing.

However, here are the critical issues with contacts. With astigmatism the contacts are weighed so they get proper orientation in your eye. If your eyes are dry your contacts might get glued to the eyeball and the correction might not be applied.

The nights that I am going to observe I use LOTS of saline to keep the eye and contacts hydrated so the contact lens can rotate to correct for the astigmatism.

I have also suspected that the contact size has some impact on visual acuity. I have "small" daily wear contacts, VERY large contacts, and somewhere-in-between contacts that I currently wear.

I "think" my small daily wear contacts are the most difficult to get a good correction at night. A small mis-match can make observing an interesting activity. The larger heavier contact lenses seem to rotate and for that reason correct better than my small daily wear contacts.

Another issue to consider is that your night vision correction should be increased by about ONE diopter to compensate for increased pupil size. This is for NAKED-EYE observing ONLY.

I do have a set of contacts with the increased correction that I use for meteor showers. The naked-eye views are much better with the one diopter increase.

So my optomologist (sp) gave me three prescriptions: one for glasses, one for daytime contacts, and one for nighttime contacts.

Go to your eye doctor and talk about your need for night vision. Hey, I even sat in the dark for a half-hour and then had her measured my correction to get it right!!!

In the end, you end up getting better service. They realize that you ARE really picky about your correction.

I did get in down to 20/10 with soft contacts!!

Hope this helps. SALINE and lots of it.

I think you wear soft contact lenses. I wear hard contacts, which are 9mm and 9.5mm in diameter. I have two contact lens prescriptions, one of which is for observing, which give me 20/15 in my left eye and 20/20 in my right eye. I do have minor astigmatism in my right eye, which one optometrist tried to correct, using a contact lens with a tine weight. The improvement in vision was not noticeable, and it was a bit annoying to wear, so I returned it. But you will get the best vision correction possible using hard contact lenses. So long as your prescription does not change, you won't have to change them. I have worn the same contact lenses for over 5 years at a time (so ling as there was no change in vision). In theory I can wear them up to 5 days at a time, but they get dirty after about 30 hours, and I need to pop them out and clean them. Ask about them, try them out.

Clears,

#7 ischua

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 06:26 PM

I have never worn contacts. My first fitting is in two weeks and I have a lot of info to bring with me. I really want to be able to go scope to scope or view with friends without wearing my Dioptrix like a monocle.

#8 Starman81

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:33 PM

I have astigmatism and have soft contacts, which I order every few years and then never wear. Same as WesC, I could never get used to them. I don't think hard contacts are available for my prescription. Oh well, what can you do. The one time I tried observing with my contacts was an exercise in futility since it was windy that night too and wind makes your eyes water and you blink a lot disturbing your contacts.

To the OP, Mike, do you not wear glasses? I can't tell from your post. You don't mention them. But if you do I would honestly part with the Naglers (9 & 13) and Panoptics (19 & 24) and pick up a couple Delos, maybe 17.3 & 12. Those two along with your 2x PowerMate would have you well-covered and with a high-eye relief lineup with the 35 & 27 Pan at the low power end. Just my 2 cents!

#9 vsteblina

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 06:33 PM

I have never worn contacts. My first fitting is in two weeks and I have a lot of info to bring with me. I really want to be able to go scope to scope or view with friends without wearing my Dioptrix like a monocle.


Couple of suggestions. Take the Sky and Telescope article on the eye as an optical instrument and have them read it. I went from a "crazy cranky customer" to a refined professional very concerned about getting the best vision possible.

I was lucky since my first contact lens fitter was the wife of a professional colleague. So I used that to my advantage, warning her HOW PICKY I was about my eyesight. At first, she thought I was just kidding. But after sitting in the dark and doing a test under a red light she realized I was serious!!! This was before the Sky and Telescope article.

Fit of the contact lenses is critical.

Remember MOST optometrists figure that a 20/40 correction is adequate. I made it clear from the start that I wanted better the 20/20!!

Once you get your contacts....always insist that the optometrist measures your eyesight when the contact is well seated and oriented properly. A good contact lens fitter will do this...however, most opthamologists and optometrists don't bother. For years, I just took the opthamologist prescription and had it reworked by the contact lens person.
Finally, I had enough and told the opthamologist that he was going to measure my visual acuity first act: checking to make sure that they were seated and oriented properly.

I gently told him I was paying for the eye exam and we were going to do it in MY order. To his credit, he DID change the order he does the visual acuity checks.

Good luck. Finding someone good to fit your contacts. Don't take no for an answer.


To Shneor: The shape of my eye is such that I cannot get a good fit with a hard lens. Your right about hards being better for good optical quality. I would really like to see a "custom" ground contact matched to my eyeball. If I was ballplayer or fighter plane pilot I would insist on it!!

#10 ewave

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:35 PM

I wear daily disposable contacts by necessity, that is to protect my cornea from a severe dry eye condition. I must say that contacts have not served me well while observing. There were times when they simply clouded up. Even times when they just popped out by merely blinking during very cold and dry weather...lol. Believe me, if and when a new treatment or surgery becomes available for my condition, I would jump at the chance and probably wouldn't mind spending as much as the current astro hardware I currently own.

#11 vsteblina

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:32 PM

Saline...Saline...pour it into your eyes.

I live in a desert. Wind and dry weather is the worst. When we get humidity under 10% with wind it can be awful. However, Saline...and more Saline and then more Saline. Keep your eyes wet.

However, I lived in New Jersey when we first moved to the USA. Do you guys even get humidity below 70%??

#12 Shneor

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:30 PM

To Shneor: The shape of my eye is such that I cannot get a good fit with a hard lens. Your right about hards being better for good optical quality. I would really like to see a "custom" ground contact matched to my eyeball. If I was ballplayer or fighter plane pilot I would insist on it!!

My normal contacts, which are progressive, are in fact custom-ground (that's why they cost $160 instead of the usual single-vision $60). As far as I know, there are only one or two companies out there that specialize in these. You might look for an optometrist who specializes in hard contact lenses.

Clears,

#13 Jim Romanski

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 03:26 PM

I use contacts all the time, not just for observing.

However, here are the critical issues with contacts. With astigmatism the contacts are weighed so they get proper orientation in your eye. If your eyes are dry your contacts might get glued to the eyeball and the correction might not be applied.

The nights that I am going to observe I use LOTS of saline to keep the eye and contacts hydrated so the contact lens can rotate to correct for the astigmatism.

I have also suspected that the contact size has some impact on visual acuity. I have "small" daily wear contacts, VERY large contacts, and somewhere-in-between contacts that I currently wear.

I "think" my small daily wear contacts are the most difficult to get a good correction at night. A small mis-match can make observing an interesting activity. The larger heavier contact lenses seem to rotate and for that reason correct better than my small daily wear contacts.

Another issue to consider is that your night vision correction should be increased by about ONE diopter to compensate for increased pupil size. This is for NAKED-EYE observing ONLY.

I do have a set of contacts with the increased correction that I use for meteor showers. The naked-eye views are much better with the one diopter increase.

So my optomologist (sp) gave me three prescriptions: one for glasses, one for daytime contacts, and one for nighttime contacts.

Go to your eye doctor and talk about your need for night vision. Hey, I even sat in the dark for a half-hour and then had her measured my correction to get it right!!!

In the end, you end up getting better service. They realize that you ARE really picky about your correction.

I did get in down to 20/10 with soft contacts!!

Hope this helps. SALINE and lots of it.


I use contacts for sports and love them. But my eyes are marginal in terms of tear production so I can only wear them for a few hours. I've tried them at the eyepiece and most nights it just doesn't work that well. They will stick sometimes and not get a good focus then the next moment they're OK (even with lots of saline). Wish they worked better at the eyepiece. Also, I'm wearing progressive lenses now so with contacts on I have trouble reading star charts.

I've tried Dioptrx and I think it's optically the best way to go. But logistically I find it a hassle since I need my glasses to see the sky I find myself taking them off and putting them on all night long.

I have special astro-glasses that I bought. They fit very close to my eyes so I only need 15mm of eye relief to see the whole field. Also, they're about 1/2 diopter stronger for near-sightedness to help with naked eye viewing. My optometrist thinks one diopter is too strong (he's also an amatuer astronomer). The lenses are glass so they are more durable and generally better optically than plastic.

Anyway, contacts are useful and certainly worth a try for astronomy. If they work well for you great.

#14 buddyjesus

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:38 PM

does anyone make a glue on thread so dioptrix can be used on non TV eyepieces?

#15 Jim Romanski

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:42 AM

I never attach my Dioptrx. I just hold it on to the top of the eyepiece. That way I can switch it from eyepiece to eyepiece quickly. I sometimes do the same thing with nebula filters.

#16 vsteblina

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:23 PM

Can you send me a PM about the companies.

My comment on hard lenses was about a decade old....so I would like to follow up.

#17 Shneor

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:43 PM

Can you send me a PM about the companies.

My comment on hard lenses was about a decade old....so I would like to follow up.

Nothing secret about this...I checked with my optometrist, one company that makes these is ABB Concise (hope I have the spelling right). But progressive hard lenses have been around for quite awhile, certainly more than a decade.
Clears,

#18 ischua

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 05:43 PM

I picked up my first contacts. So far I'm on number 6. It is side weighted only problem is I can see the weights to the side. Annoying to say the least plus I also feel it. One more to try (bottom weighted) and get used to.

#19 Jarrod

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 11:18 AM

Had to resurrect this old thread because I just got toric lenses about 10 days ago. I had been wearing glasses for several years and had never even thought about contacts. Well I finally got frustrated with how glasses limit choices for astronomy gear and decided to give them a try after getting positive feedback from some trusted friends who had been successfully using them to correct astigmatism.

After reading the several negative experiences above I feel *really* fortunate because the correction I'm getting with these lenses is fabulous, and it has made my observing sessions so much more enjoyable. I'm really happy with them, and surprised that there isn't more discussion about contacts when the (frequent) subject of observing with glasses comes up.

The only thing I've noticed is that if I have them in all day the lenses can get a little sticky which degrades the astigmatism correction. I need to take Vladmir's advice and carry some saline drops with me.

In my case it cost $30 for me to try these out - the added cost to a normal eye exam, which included the fitting plus one trial set of lenses. It may be the best $30 I have ever spent. The lenses I have are branded "Air Optix for Astigmatism", if you are curious. They cost about $40 per box of six lenses.






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