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How to Read the Prescription for Your Eyeglasses

How to Read the Prescription for Your Eyeglasses

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Learning to understand your eyeglasses prescription is tricky but necessary, this friendly guide simplifies the process.
Learning to understand your eyeglasses prescription is tricky but necessary, this friendly guide simplifies the process.

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Published by: Hillary Lynne Glaser on Mar 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/09/2011

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How to Read the Prescription for Your Eyeglasses
Learning to understand your eyeglasses prescription is tricky but necessary, this friendlyguide simplifies the process.An updated eyeglasses prescription is the first step to being able to buy stylish andaffordable glasses online. Unfortunately, so few understand what is written on that pieceof paper that it makes filling out the order form really difficult and often results inmistakes that end up causing errors in the manufacture of your new eyeglasses.Learning what all those signs and symbols mean is crucial to you being in control of your visual health.So let’s get started with a very brief explanation of what the abbreviations on your prescription really mean:
OD
is
oculus dextrous
which means your right eye
OS
is
oculus sinister 
which means your left eye
SPH
is
sphere
- the main part of your prescription. It states the strength of your prescription in diopter.
CYL
is
cylinder 
- indicating the strength of your astigmatism (if you have one).
AXIS
is the rotation of the cylindrical lens (CYL) that runs on a plane of 1-180 degrees.
PL
is
plano
- which means there is no vision correction needed (basically you wantframes fitted with clear glass lenses for fashion purposes).
D.V.
means
distance vision
N.V.
means
near vision
- sometimes it says NVO
ADD
is short for 
additional value
PD
is the distance between your pupils or 
pupil distance
OU
just means
both eyes
PAL
means progressive additive lens and it is the additional value for your progressivelenses.
Balance
means that one eye has a prescription and the other eye has no useful vision.
X
is short for 
Axis
.
Prism
happens when both eyes are not properly aligned and they need a prism to re-align them.
Base
is the rotation of the prism. The prescription will read:
BO
-
base out 
BI
-
base in
BU
-
base up
BD
-
base down
Every doctor writes their prescription differently so one really needs to take note of theabbreviations and work out the meaning accordingly.Note: the numerical values will always be written with either plus (+) or a minus (-) signin the SPH as well as the CYL and ADD. These signs are probably the most crucial of the whole prescription as mixing them up will determine how and whether at all you cansee.As noted above, SPHERE (SPH)
 
is the
 
strength of your prescription in 0.25 increments.Nearsighted (problems seeing in the distance) people will usually have a minus (-) signin their sphere while farsighted (problems seeing up close) people will have a plus (+) intheir prescriptions.

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