What Do the Numbers on Your Eyeglasses Prescription Mean?

When you receive a prescription for a new pair of eyeglasses in Wellington, FL, it can feel like you are reading a foreign language. What do all those letters and numbers mean? Below, we explain how to interpret a typical eyeglass prescription.

The Standard Eyeglasses Prescription

You will see columns, words, and numbers that may not make much sense to you. Here is the order of words listed on a standard prescription for eyeglasses:

  • Sphere
  • Cylinder
  • Axis
  • Prism
  • Base
  • Add

You will also see the abbreviations OD, which is a Latin abbreviation for oculus dexter, and OS, which stands for oculus sinister. OD refers to the right eye, while OS refers to the left eye.

Under the word sphere, you should notice a number written in the OD and OS columns with a plus or minus sign in front of it. A plus sign indicates farsightedness and a minus sign tells the manufacturer that the person who will wear the glasses is nearsighted. The degree of correction depends on how severe your farsightedness or nearsightedness is, and the numbers can differ for each eye.

You will only see something written under the cylinder if you have an astigmatism. The number indicates the power the lenses need to have to correct the condition. Axis is another term that refers to astigmatism. The number present shows the angle the lens must be to correct this common visual disturbance.

Base refers to the lens curve, while add indicates bifocal or trifocal power. If you see something in the prism column, it means that your optometrist requested the manufacturer to create the glasses so that they bend the direction of light entering your eyes.

Do you need new eyeglasses in Wellington, FL? Please reach out to us to request an exam.

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