Understanding Your Prescription

Understanding Your Prescription in Bellflower

Making Sense of Your Glasses Prescription

So you've completed your eye exam and you now have a copy of your prescription for glasses. Trying to understand it can be confusing. It can look like a hodgepodge of strange words, abbreviations, and numbers. While it isn't necessary to earn a degree in optometry to interpret it, it's a good idea to have a general understanding. 

Fortunately, with a little explanation it will begin to make sense. The following article will provide a simple breakdown of basic terms, abbreviations, and numbers. 

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Understanding Key Terms and Numbers

The following key terms and abbreviations are found on standard glasses prescriptions, starting with the columns from left to right:

  • RX/Eye- Both terms are used interchangeably.
    • OD: This refers to your oculus dexter, or right eye, as seen from the vantage of the optometrist when he assesses you. 
    •  OS: The oculus sinister refers to the left eye.
    • OU: Oculus uterque refers to both eyes.
  • Sphere (SPH): The term used to describe the overall lens power required to correct your vision. A plus ( + ) sign refers to distance corrections for farsightedness (hyperopia),  whereas the minus ( - ) sign is for nearsightedness (myopia). Lens power is measured by diopters. Ex. In the OS row,  + 4.00 means that the left eye needs 4 diopters of correction for farsightedness.
  • Cylinder (CYL): The next column addresses the cylinder number which indicates how much eye curvature you have. Not everyone has this condition, which is also known as astigmatism. The eye shape of people with astigmatism is sometimes likened to the general shape of a football, as opposed to the basketball-shaped eyes of those with no curvature.

Common Questions

They will not. Contact lenses have a different prescription because of how they are measured (fitted) to match the precise size and diameter of your eye.
Multifocals: These feature multiple focal points in the lens for different aspects of vision, such as distance vision, intermediate, and reading. Bifocals: These types of glasses have two prescriptions in the lenses. The top part is for regular vision, and the bottom is for reading. Bifocals are also multifocal. Progressive Lenses: These are also a type of multifocal glasses with the added advantage of them not having lines separating the sections. These glasses gradually shift their functions from the top of the lens to the bottom, allowing the wearer a more harmonious integration of the different features.
Opticians are professionals who offer services such as helping patients choose glasses or contact lenses, fitting lenses into frames, and polishing and cleaning contact lenses. They cannot conduct eye exams, write prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses, or treat or diagnose eye conditions like optometrists.
Understanding Your Prescription
Dr. Ikeda cartoon

Reading Your Prescription

Understanding how to read a glasses prescription can seem daunting at first. As we have hopefully shown you in this article, once you understand the basic meaning of key terms and abbreviations, it makes a lot more sense. Always speak with your optometrist if you have any questions or concerns about your current prescription.

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I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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