The cornea is the clear front window of the eye and should be perfectly round – like the shape of a door knob. Astigmatism means that the cornea is slightly oval in shape – like the back of a spoon. If the cornea has significant astigmatism, then details such as print or street signs will appear blurred without glasses. Eyeglasses optically correct this blur by compensating for the oval shape of the cornea. The more astigmatism one has, the blurrier the vision is without eyeglasses.
Astigmatism correction can also be incorporated into the artificial lens that is implanted at the time of cataract surgery. This is called a toric lens implant and it must be positioned in a specific orientation in order to neutralize the astigmatism from the cornea.
The toric lens implant does not allow you to both read and see far away without eyeglasses. It may not necessarily correct all of your astigmatism either. However, compared to a conventional lens implant that does not correct astigmatism, the toric lens implant should improve how well you see without glasses, and any eyeglasses that you do require should be less strong.