how read eyeglass prescription

How To Read a Prescription for Glasses (It’s Easy!)

I get asked how to read prescriptions all the time, including those for glasses. Reading a prescription for eyeglasses from your optometrist is simple, here’s how: (short video)

How to Read a Prescription for Eyeglasses / Common Abbreviations

Ordering prescription glasses online from somewhere like EyeBuyDirect or glasses.com? Be sure you know how to read your prescription!

  • OD = Right Eye (R)
  • OS = Left Eye (L)
  • SPH = “Sphere” or strength of your lens. A “+” positive number means you’re far-sighted while a “” negative number means you’re near-sighted
  • CYL & Axis will be filled in if you have astigmatism. That means your eye is not shaped spherical, but more like a football shape. The Axis is the angle of your astigmatism
  • ADD = Additional strength in your lenses like bifocal, progressive, etc.

Other EyeGlass Prescription Terms:

*PRISM = The prismatic power used to correct vision displacement. (When your eyes don’t align correctly)

*BASE = The way the base of the prism is facing: BU, BD, BI, BO

Pupillary Distance “PD” is the distance from one pupil to the other. PD is needed to order glasses online, but you can measure your own.

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