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.

The two types of astigmatism are regular and irregular.

Irregular astigmatism is often caused by a corneal scar or scattering in the crystalline lens, and cannot be corrected by standard spectacle lenses, but can be corrected by contact lenses.

Regular astigmatism arising from either the cornea or crystalline lens can be corrected by a toric lens. A toric surface resembles a section of the surface of an American football or a doughnut where there are two regular radii, one smaller than the other one. This optical shape gives rise to regular astigmatism in the eye. 

Astigmatism causes difficulties in seeing fine detail, and in some cases vertical lines (e.g., walls) may appear to the patient to be tilted. The astigmatic optics of the human eye can often be corrected by spectacles, hard contact lenses or contact lenses that have a compensating optic, cylindrical lens (i.e. a lens that has different radii of curvature in different planes).