If you have astigmatism you see the world as if it has been stretched, a corrective spectacle or contact lens alters the image the eye sees by squashing the image back square again. In fact most people have

Astigmatic vision

a small amount of astigmatism. This is usually due to the front of your eye being shaped more like a rugby ball (or egg), than a soccer ball (or sphere).  These pictures show fairly severe astigmatism for effect. The picture to the left shows how an astigmatic patient sees

without any correction. This image is stretched  on the horizontal AXIS (the angle the image is streched along), the picture to the right  shows the corrected vision.  It is normally very easy to correct  this form of visual problem with spectacles, and sometimes with contact lenses

Normal vision

Astigmatism (CYL - or cylinder)is usually combined with long / short sight and (for older people) presbyopia.  Usually a person's prescription deals with all of these visual defects in one go