How to understand your eye prescription?

If you wear eyeglasses, you may have wondered what all those numbers and abbreviations on your prescription mean. Understanding your eyeglass prescription is essential for getting the right lenses to correct your vision. In this guide, we’ll break down how to read and interpret your prescription.

  1. Sphere (SPH): This indicates the degree of nearsightedness (-) or farsightedness (+) you have. The number can be positive or negative, and the larger the number, the stronger your prescription.
  2. Cylinder (CYL): If you have astigmatism, this value will be present. It shows the amount of astigmatism correction needed. It can also be positive or negative.
  3. Axis: This number, combined with the cylinder value, defines the orientation of the astigmatism correction. It ranges from 0 to 180 degrees.
  4. Addition (ADD): If you need bifocals or progressive lenses for reading, you’ll see this value. It indicates the additional magnifying power applied to the lower part of the lens.
  5. Prism: This is less common in prescriptions and corrects eye alignment issues. It’s measured in prism diopters and may have a base direction, such as “in,” “out,” “up,” or “down.”
  6. Pupillary Distance (PD): This is the distance between your pupils and ensures that the optical centers of the lenses align with your eyes.
  7. Near and Intermediate Distance: For progressive or multifocal lenses, there may be additional values specifying the prescription for different viewing distances.
  8. Brand or Lens Material: Sometimes, your eye care professional may recommend a specific lens material or brand based on your prescription and lifestyle.
  9. Expiration Date: Some prescriptions have an expiration date, so make sure to order your glasses before it expires.

Remember, your eyeglass prescription is unique to you, and only an eye care professional can accurately interpret it and help you choose the right lenses and frames. If you have any questions or concerns about your prescription, don’t hesitate to ask your eye doctor for clarification.

In conclusion, decoding your eyeglass prescription is the first step in ensuring you get the right lenses to correct your vision. Understanding the numbers and abbreviations on your prescription empowers you to make informed choices when selecting eyewear. Always consult with your eye care professional for personalized guidance.


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