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A toric contact lens is one in which either or both of the optical surfaces have the effect of a cylindrical lens, usually in combination with the effect of a spherical lens. Myopic (nearsighted) and hypermetropic (farsighted) people who also have astigmatism and who have been told they are not suitable for regular contact lenses may be able to use toric lenses. If one eye has astigmatism and the other doesn't, the patient may be told to use a spherical lens in one eye and a toric lens in the other. Toric lenses are made from the same materials as regular contact lenses but have a couple of extra characteristics:

• They correct for both spherical and cylindrical aberration.

• They have a specific top and bottom, as they are not symmetrical around their centre and must not be rotated. Lenses must be designed to maintain their orientation regardless of eye movement. Often lenses are weighted more at the bottom and are marked by tiny striations so the wearer can insert them in the correct orientation, or they are designed so that the correct orientation is restored when the user blinks. Some do both.

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