How To Read An Eyeglasses Prescription

How To Read An Eyeglasses Prescription

  1. OD and OS:

    Understanding an eye prescription chart may seem complex at first, but it becomes clearer once you know the basics. An eyeglass prescription typically includes the following elements on the left:
    OD (oculus dexter): This refers to the right eye.
    OS (oculus sinister): This refers to the left eye.

  2. Sphere (SPH):

    The first column on the left of the glasses prescription chart. This indicates the amount of lens power on the eye prescription, measured in diopters (D), needed to correct nearsightedness (negative value), farsightedness (positive value), or astigmatism.

  3. Cylinder (CYL):

    If there is an astigmatism, this value denotes the lens power needed to correct the astigmatism. It is measured in diopters and can be a positive or negative value. This is the middle box of the eye prescription chart. If there is no astigmatism this will be left blank or it may say “DS”.

  4. Axis:

    This number, measured in degrees from 1 to 180, shows the orientation of the cylinder power for astigmatism correction. This is the right box of the eye prescription chart. If there is no astigmatism this will be left blank or it may say “DS”.


  5. Addition (ADD):

    This is an additional correction for presbyopia or reading glasses. It’s represented in positive values and is added to the sphere power for reading or close-up vision. You will see this on your glasses prescription if you have been prescribed bifocals or progressive lenses.

  6. Prism and Base:

    These are prescribed for certain eye alignment issues. The prism indicates the amount of prismatic power needed to correct the alignment, and the base denotes the direction of the prism (up, down, in, or out).
    Here’s an example prescription:
    prescription eyeglasses chart

  7. This prescription would be read as follows:

    Right eye (OD): Sphere -2.00, Cylinder -1.00 at an axis of 90 degrees.
    Left eye (OS): Sphere -1.50, Cylinder -0.75 at an axis of 180 degrees.
    Addition (ADD): +2.25 for reading or close-up vision.
    If you have trouble understanding your prescription, it’s essential to consult with your eye care professional for clarification. They can explain the specific details of your prescription and recommend suitable eyeglasses based on your needs.






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