How to Read Your Eyeglass Prescription
Are you confused about what all those numbers and abbreviated terms on your eyeglass prescription mean?
Let’s take a quick look at each to better help you understand how to decipher your prescription.
What RE and LE Mean
RE refers to the right eye and LE refers to the left eye .On your eyeglasses prescription, the information for your right eye (RE)comes before the information for your left eye (LE).
Eye doctors write prescriptions this way because when they face you, they see your right eye on their left (first) and your left eye on their right (second).
Other Terms on Your Eyeglass Prescription
Sphere (SPH). This indicates the amount of lens power, measured in diopters (D), prescribed to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. If the number appearing under this heading has a minus sign (–), you are nearsighted; if the number has a plus sign (+) or is not preceded by a plus sign or a minus sign, you are farsighted
Cylinder (CYL). This indicates the amount of lens power for astigmatism. If nothing appears in this column, either you have no astigmatism, or your astigmatism is so slight that it is not necessary to correct it with your eyeglass lenses
Axis. This describes the lens meridian that contains no cylinder power to correct astigmatism. The axis is defined with a number from 1 to 180. The number 90 corresponds to the vertical meridian of the eye, and the number 180 corresponds to the horizontal meridian
Add. This is the added magnifying power applied to the bottom part of multifocal lenses to correct presbyopia. The number appearing in this section of the prescription is always a "plus" power, even if it is not preceded by a plus sign. Generally, it will range from +0.75 to +3.00 D and will be the same power for both eyes
Prism. This is the amount of prismatic power, measured in prism diopters prescribed to compensate for eye alignment problems. Only a small percentage of eyeglass prescriptions include prism
One important thing to keep in mind:
Eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions aren't the same. An eyeglass prescription is for the purchase of eyeglasses only. It does not contain certain information that is crucial to a contact lens prescription and that can be obtained only during a contact lens consultation and fitting.