Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How to Read an Eyeglasses Prescription

Eyeglasses Frame

When you buy a new pair of specs the first thing you’ll be getting your hands on is choosing the right eyeglasses frame. Will it match with your face shape or skin tone? Is it going to complement well with your chosen outfit or kind of lifestyle? Oh, wait. Have you taken a peek at your eyeglasses prescription, the piece of paper given to you by your optometrist or ophthalmologist after your eye checkup?

At first, it is really taunting to read it (and you’re lucky if you can understand a thing or two) and yet it has the information you need to be able to see clearly again. How do you solve this conundrum? You just simply hand it over to your trusted optician and let them do their job. Problem solved. Why is it important to decipher it if it looks like a Voynich Manuscript to a mortal’s eyes, wishing it is as easy as choosing an eyeglasses frame? What if a time comes you need to buy glasses online? You have no choice but to fill in on your own fields like OD power, OS power, total PD or axis.

So, let’s do some eyewear prescription reading! Before we proceed, it looks like this:

· OD and OS = it stands for Oculus Dexter and Oculus Sinister, Latin words for ‘right eye’ and ‘left eye’ respectively. Sometimes, each of our eyes is not created equal and it can have different measurements.

· OU = it is not written in the image but if you read this it means the prescription can be applied on both eyes. It reads as Oculus Uterque, meaning ‘each eye.’

· Distance = this row is the result of your Snellen chart exam. It determines the lens power you need to be able to see at a distance.

· Sphere = it can be shortened to ‘SPH.’ This gives you the ability to have a 20/20 vision. It also tells you if you’re myopic or hyperopic. The minus sign (-) translates to nearsightedness. While a plus sign (+) or a number that has no signs before it denotes farsightedness.

· Cylinder = can be abbreviated to ‘CYL.’ Did your eye doctor put a number in it? Then you have an astigmatism, a refractive error which the eye does not focus light evenly on the retina, according to US National Eye Institute.

· Axis = in case you have astigmatism, this space should be filled out as well. As explained by, axis is the number between 1 to 180 that indicates the meridian of the eye, and tells the manufacturer where on your lens the astigmatism correction should be located.

· Prism = this number means to correct eye alignment and is measured in terms of prism diopters.

· Base = this goes along with the previous item and determines which edge of the prism should be the thickest. It could be up (BU), down (BD), toward the nose (BI) or toward the ears (BO).

· Add = specifies the needed magnifying power, which ranges from +0.75 D to +3.00 D.

· Additional Information = your eye doctor writes here if you prefer to coat it with anti-reflective film or UV protection.

As you can notice, there is no PD or pupillary distance on the image. This is not usually noted on your prescription, so better ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist to have it measured. Eyeglass Direct defines it as “the distance from the center of the pupil (black circle) in one eye to the center of the pupil in the other.”

Alright, that is quite a lot to dig in but the important thing is you’re now an informed buyer next time you get a new pair and not just a pro at picking the right eyeglasses frame.

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