How to Read Your Eyeglasses Prescription

Understand your eyeglass prescription before you see an optician. This will help you determine what material is best for your glasses based on your prescription.

Things You’ll Need:
Eyeglass Prescription (Valid from 1 to 2 years depending on your doctor)

After seeing your eye doctor, you will receive a prescription for eyeglasses. Let’s first look at what each part of the prescription means. (Note: Eyeglass and contact prescriptions are separate. You must have a separate prescription for contacts to buy them.)

It’s important to understand what the parts of your prescription mean so that you can have an idea of what type of material is best for your glasses.

•You will see the following things on your prescription:

OD: Right Eye
OS: Left Eye

SPHERE: A plus (+) number may mean that you need a correction for reading or distance. This is called hyperopia. A minus (-) number means that you need a correction for seeing things far away. This is called myopia. If you do not have any numbers but see PL, this means that you do not have any correction for the sphere.

CYLINDER: This is an astigmatism correction. If you have an astigmatism, your eyes need a correction for making objects look sharper.

AXIS- The axis is part of the astigmatism correction. This will tell the lab how many degrees to rotate your lenses when they’re being made.

(You might see the ADD filled in)
ADD: If your prescription is written for bifocals , this represents your reading correction.

• You may see both + or – cylinder. As a general rule, if you have a prescription written with a + cylinder, the person selling you glasses will convert this to a negative number. To do this for your reference, add the cylinder to the sphere. Then change the + cylinder to a – and rotate the axis by 90 degrees.
So a SPHERE -1.25 CYLINDER +2.00 AXIS 90 would become SPHERE +0.75 CYLINDER -2.00 AXIS 180