How to Read Your Eye Prescriptions Correctly?

how to read eye prescription

Have you ever gotten a new pair of glasses only to discover that the world remains blurry? Understanding your eye prescription helps you choose the best glasses for your requirements. But it seems complicated, right? Well, not anymore!

Whether you’ve been wearing glasses for a long time or are just getting started, here are some valuable insights to assist you in navigating the world of eyeglass prescription.

Dig in to discover how to read an eye prescription!

Eye Prescription Abbreviations

So, you’ve got your eye prescription, but what do all those terms mean? Let’s break it down.

  • OD: This one is for your right eye and is derived from the Latin word “oculus dexter,” which means “right eye”.
  • OS: When you read OS on your prescription, it refers to the left eye. In Latin, “oculus sinister” means “left eye”.
  • OU: This is different; it relates to both of your eyes. It is derived from the Latin phrase “oculus uterque,” which means “both eyes”.
  • NV: NV stands for near vision, which is the ability to perceive objects up close.
  • DV: DV refers to the ability to perceive distant objects clearly.
  • PD: Pupillary Distance (PD) evaluates how far apart each of your pupils is so that glasses may be adjusted appropriately. Ideally, your optometrist incorporates this measurement in their prescriptions.
  • Numbers: The numbers represent the diopters of lens power required to correct the refractive error in your eyes.
  • Negative Numbers: When you see a negative number on your prescription, it means you have myopia, which requires lenses to help you see distant objects more clearly.
  • Positive Number: It indicates hyperopia, and lenses are needed to improve your close-up vision.

Other Eye Prescription Acronyms

When you look at your eye prescription chart, there are some other terms as well that might seem confusing. Let’s break them down in simple words.

Variety of glasses on top of an eye chart
  • Sphere (SPH): It tells you if you are nearsighted (-) or farsighted (+).
  • Cylinder (CYL): This helps correct astigmatism. If there’s nothing here, you either don’t have astigmatism, or it’s very minor.
  • Axis: This describes where the cylinder power is needed to correct astigmatism. You might want to know what astigmatism is. Well, it is a common eye ailment that results in blurred vision. It happens when your cornea (the front of the eye) or the lens inside the eye is irregularly shaped.
  • Add: It refers to extra magnifying power for reading as you age. It ranges from +0.75 to +3.00 D and applies to both eyes.
  • Prism: Lastly, some prescriptions may include a prism measurement for eye alignment issues using terms like BU = base up, BD = base down, BI = base in, and BO = base out.

These measures are commonly reported in diopters as decimal numbers with quarter-diopter increments. However, axis values represent only the position and do not indicate any real lens powers.

Does Your Eye Glass Prescription Change?

Large swings in your vision prescription over time are unusual. They should be investigated unless they are predicted due to therapy or injury. However, minor, slow changes can occur, particularly as you and your eyes age.

For example, as you age (usually in your forties), you may acquire presbyopia. When this happens, you may find that purchasing a pair of reading glasses or adding new progressive lenses to your existing frames is beneficial.

Even if you feel like there is no difference in your vision and aren’t experiencing any concerning symptoms, it’s still a good idea to have an eye check-up every year. Annual eye exams ensure that an optometrist keeps an eye on the health of your eyes and updates your prescription as necessary.

Are Contact Lens Prescriptions Different From the Ones for Eyeglasses?

Yes, contact lens prescriptions vary from those for glasses. This is because contact lenses sit directly on the surface of your eye and must have the same curvature as your eye. A contact lens prescription comprises measurements for the base curve and the diameter.

A base curve is generally a number between 8 and 10 that corresponds to the shape of your eye. The diameter usually is 13 to 15 millimeters from one side of the lens to the other.

Your contact prescription also includes the brand and kind of lens, as well as the expiration date. Contact prescriptions should be updated annually to account for changes in eyesight and guarantee an optimal fit.

So, the abbreviations in your eye prescription may have appeared mysterious at first. But you now understand what they represent. You’ve learned a lot about how to read your eyeglass prescriptions, from OD and OS to comprehending NV.

With this knowledge, you can make educated selections about the best glasses for your visual needs. So, here’s to seeing the world with clarity and confidence!

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