Many eye doctors are asked the question: what is a stigmatism? The term for the common vision problem is actually astigmatism; and can come from one of two irregularities in the eye. The condition of astigmatism will oftentimes accompany nearsightedness or farsightedness. The two types of astigmatism are corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism. In the first type, it is the cornea that is shaped irregularly; in the second type, the irregular shape comes from the lens of the eye, located behind the cornea. In the past, contact lenses were not thought to be the best treatment for this eye condition. Individuals with this condition would correct their vision problems with bifocals or trifocal eyeglasses. But today, toric contact lenses are an effective treatment option for many. Toric contact lenses are made from the same materials as regular "spherical" lenses; which means they can come in soft or RGP style. RGP are rigid gas permeable contact lenses; modeled after the now obsolete hard contacs. Although this type is rigid, and therefore "hard", oxygen can breathe through the lens and reach the eye itself. The toric contact lenses worn today contain two powers within them. At different angles in the lens, there are different curvatures built in. One curvature corrects astigmatism while the other will correct either myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). Due to the distinct nature of toric contact lenses, proper orientation on the eye is essential for them to do their job effectively. This type of lens is created with extra weight on one side in order for there to be an "up" and a "down" to the lens. By placing extra weight on one side, the lens will orient itself correctly on the eye as blinking occurs. The invention of these weighted contact lenses facilitates correct wear without extra effort on the part of the wearer. Toric contact lenses require extra time in fitting and creation. They are therefore more expensive than most standard forms of contact lenses. However, when considering this type of contact lens for your astigmatism, you cannot compare these lenses to the price of standard contacts. Your comparison would be to the cost and efficiency of bifocal or trifocal glasses instead. When choosing whether to purchase soft or RGP contact lenses to correct astigmatism, the main question that typically comes into play is comfort vs. clarity. For the most part, those who wear soft contact lenses prefer the comfort they receive from them. The clarity in vision between soft and RGP is not even noticed by most. There are patients, however, who are pickier about their vision. Perhaps those who perform intricate close-up work would prefer the RGP type of contact lens. While this "hard" lens is not as comfortable as a soft lens, the clarity for some people is worth the difference. Astigmatism is not a reason to be burdened with poor vision. Through a thorough exam and diagnosis with your eye doctor, astigmatism can be treated with great effectiveness and you can see clearly for many years.