How to Read Your Glasses & Contact Lens Prescriptions


With over 10 years working with our visitors to tailor eyewear solutions for them, our Vision Ambassadors have curated some of the top questions received from our visitors and customers. Today we start with our most frequently asked question: what are the numbers on my glasses or contact lens prescription and how do I read them? Clearly’s Head Optician, Claudia Rojas, provides us with key guidelines that she also provides to our Vision Care Team on how to read your optical prescriptions.

claudia-rojas-eyewear-prescriptionsThe following are some tips on understanding your eyewear prescriptions. If you’re unsure of anything call our Vision Care team at 1-866-414-2326 who are also happy to contact your Eye Care Provider to check your prescription on your behalf.

What do the numbers on my prescription mean?


Your prescription may include a SPH, CYL, Axis, ADD and Pupillary Distance (PD). If your prescription does not include one of those it simply means that you do not require that corrective power.


Right eye parameters


Left eye parameters


Sphere indicates the amount of lens power prescribed for nearsightedness or farsightedness.


A Cylinder (CYL) and Axis is required to correct Astigmatism. Both parameters will be required together.


This provides magnifying power for reading, progressive and bifocal lenses.

How do I Read My Glasses Prescription?

In addition to the general parameters, a glasses prescription also requires a Pupillary Distance  (PD)

Pupillary Distance (PD)

PD is the distance between the centre of one pupil (the central black dot of your eye) to the centre of the other pupil, measured in millimeters.


This is how you would include the numbers on our website for glasses:


How do I Read My Contact Lens Prescription?

In addition to the general parameters, a contact lens prescription will include a Base Curve and a Diameter.


Both the  Base Curve (BC)  and Diameter (DIA) of a contact lens ensures a proper fit on your cornea and total eye surface to ensure comfort, and encourages eye health including allowing proper oxygen to the eye.



This is how you would find your prescribed contact lens product and enter your prescription:

1) Find your prescribed brand (in this case it is Acuvue 2 but your Eye Care Professional will prescribe the best product for your eye health)

2) Following your prescription, enter the Power, Base Curve and Diameter


If you have any questions about your glasses or contact lens prescription call our Vision Care Team at  1-866-414-2326 for assistance.

Have a valid prescription and ready to shop?



  • Reply July 22, 2016


    No mention on how to deal with bifocal lens.
    Your frames need to specify which are suitable for bifocal and which are not.

    • Reply August 16, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Joe,

      Apologies for any confusion. Our site does help to filter the glasses that are suitable for multifocal (bifocal and progressive) lenses.

      If you go to the link below, it will show you all the frames currently available on our site that will accommodate this lens type.

      If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team: 1-866-414-2326

  • Reply August 16, 2016


    Just a slight error in spelling of section [ buying glaases on line] X
    Correction ( buying glasses on line) ✔ in your ” How to read your Prescription for buying eyewear or contact lenses” page.
    Small detail I know, but correction is so important in detail…Eye hope you see its importance 😉 pun intended. I luv the website!

    • Reply September 1, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Marilyn,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know! It’s been corrected.

  • Reply September 13, 2016


    Do you guys not offer glasses with a prism in them?

    • Reply October 7, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Aaron,

      At this time we don’t offer prism technology in our lenses. We currently carry lined bifocals and unlined progressives.

      We may have prism lenses in the future, but we don’t have an exact expectation date at this time.

      I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.

      If you have any additional questions, please contact us at 1-866-414-2326 or e-mail at

      • Reply March 5, 2017

        Geoff Anderson

        Given the growing demand for prisms for people sitting in front of screens all day long, such as the one I’m staring at now, not having an ETA on when they will be available is a neglectful answer. That literally forces us to take out business elsewhere.

        • Reply March 6, 2017

          Sarah Arboleda

          Dear Geoff,

          My apologies for any lack of clarity. We take our lens quality and technology very seriously as we want to make sure that everyone has the best possible vision from our eyewear. Certain lenses, like prism lenses, do require highly specialized and individual calculations and measurements which are more challenging through an online retail medium. That said, we are always striving to close the gap between physical and digital shopping, which is why we would not be willing to say that we will never carry this lens.

          Thank you for your feedback, and let us know if you have any further questions or concerns at this time.



  • Reply October 14, 2016

    Veronica Bergamin

    I have a glass eye on my left side, so I need a prescription on the right and balanced on the left but I can’t find a place to put that information. Also when you are ordering bifocals how do you know where to put the line for the reading part.

    • Reply October 14, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Veronica,

      If you’ve been instructed by your eye doctor to “balance” one eye, then that means you should enter the same information for your left (OS) eye as your right (OD) eye.

      So if your prescription is:

      OD: -2.00, -0.25, 75

      Then your OS would have the same parameters to ensure that the glasses have equal weight and thickness.

      For entering your reading information, “ADD” — which comes just after the AXIS section — is the same as “Reading” power. Unless you’ve been otherwise instructed by your eye doctor, your ADD power/Reading power should be the same in both eyes.

      I hope that helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us at 1-866-414-2326 or via e-mail at

  • Reply November 5, 2016

    Gary Coblenz

    There is no mention of Notes on prescriptions. My prescription has a note that says, ” pals +2.25 add ou”. The add on the actual prescription is 2.00. Why the difference?

    • Reply November 7, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Gary,

      We recommend contacting our dedicated Vision Care team directly so they can talk you through the prescription in greater detail and answer any questions you might have. You can reach them at or at 1-866-414-2326.

  • Reply November 12, 2016



    I see that you indicate that under AXIS on your website it allows you to enter the 0s prior to the number, however when I try to enter mine (025) the only option is 25, is this correct? Or am I doing something wrong?


    • Reply November 14, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Steph,

      Is this for contact lenses or glasses?

      For axis measurements, the 0 can often be a placeholder by your eye doctor, so 25 should be correct. That said, if you are concerned that you might be misreading your script, we always recommend clarifying it with your eye care professional before ordering.

      For any other inquiries about ordering, please contact us at or 1-866-414-2326.

  • Reply November 20, 2016


    I am trying to get a toric lens for my left eye only (right is regular lens) and I can’t put in the CYL or AXE values. The parameters on the site are already set and do not match my prescription. My prescription has different values.


    • Reply December 6, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Sarah,

      Are you trying to order contact lenses or glasses? If contacts, you should be prescribed for two different brands — one toric, one non-toric.

      If glasses, there should be CYL and Axis prompts when you go to enter your prescription.

      If you’re having trouble, please contact us at or 1-866-414-2326.

  • Reply November 30, 2016

    Sonnie Martin

    I am wanting to order a multi focal lens that has correction for nearsightedness AND farsightedness. But your website does not offer the option to enter those values. How do I order?

    • Reply December 1, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Sonnie,

      Our multifocal lenses do have both distance and reading correction included. We carry both a bifocal lens (with the visible line), as well as progressive (without the line). When you select your frame, you are taken to a prescription page that asks you to enter all values from your prescription, including your ADD power (which corrects your reading/near vision). Once you’ve filled out your prescription, you’re taken to another page that asks you to choose whether you want Reading, Distance, or Reading & Distance. If you select Reading & Distance, you’re taken to see our selection of multifocal lenses.

      If you give us a call at 1-866-414-2326 or email us at, a dedicated Vision Care representative can walk you through the order process and help you find the lens you need.

      We apologize for any confusion caused.



  • Reply December 19, 2016

    Teghan E

    I’m trying to order toric contacts for my right eye and my prescription is -0.75-1.50×145. I can’t seem to find a brand that can match this, only inbetween sizes. I’ve tried -0.75-1.25×140 with biofinity, but it didn’t fit right. Do you have any tips on how to tweak the numbers to line up better?

    • Reply December 20, 2016

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Teghan,

      What brand of contact lenses did your eye care professional prescribe you for? If there’s no contact lens brand listed on your prescription, you may instead have a script for glasses.

      For more hands-on support, please contact us at or 1-866-414-2326.

  • Reply January 11, 2017


    my PD is a smaller number than your options list. What does this mean for me? My prescription also reads to separate PD’s, 32.5 for my right and 31.5 for my left under the PD column. Help! Thanks!

    • Reply January 24, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Emma,

      This means that you have a mono PD. You can enter in two separate PD measurements into our current prescription reader, but if you need some assistance you can always give us a call and we’ll be happy to walk you through it.


      Your “total” PD is a 64, according to the numbers you’ve provided above, with 32.5 for your OD (or right eye) and 31.5 for your OS (or left eye).

      The way to enter it is as follows:

      1. Find a pair of frames you love, then click the “Add lenses” button right underneath the price on the product’s page.
      2. Select “Add Prescription” from the dropdown. This will take you to a new screen.
      3. Select “Add New Prescription” on the lefthand side of the new screen.
      4. Enter your prescription information. Then, where it says “PD,” you should see text that reads “I have two PD numbers.” Select this.
      5. You should now see two fields for your PD — the top is for your right eye (OD), the bottom is for your left eye (OS). You can enter your two separate numbers here.

      Hopefully that helped, Emma, but let us know if we can be of any further assistance.



  • Reply February 15, 2017

    Margaret Kwan

    how can I get Clearly Contacts to add or stretch out the nose padding part so it sits a little higher on my nose bridge? Do I need to leave it with them so they can fix it? or can I wait for them to do it in person?

    • Reply February 16, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Margaret,

      If you live near one of our three store locations, we can definitely do that for you in-person.

      Here is our store contact information:


      West 4th Avenue


      Queen Street

      Otherwise, please feel free to call us any time at 1-866-414-2326, and an agent can assist you further.

  • Reply February 25, 2017


    hi I have a question I’m interested in ordering air optix for astigmatism

    my OS is -1.50 sphere, -1.50 cyclinder and 072 axis, I don’t see an option for a -1.50 cyclinder would it be typical to go
    to -1.75 in this case, I’m not sure what to do any help would be appreciated thanks

    -kareem hersi

    • Reply February 27, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Kareem,

      Is the prescription that you’re using the same one that you used for your eyeglasses? If so, you’d need to visit your eye doctor for a separate contact lens prescription which would include a brand recommendation and trial lenses.

      If you are prescribed for Air Optix for Astigmatism, then your parameters should be available in the brand.

      If you need additional assistance, please contact us at 1-866-414-2326.



  • Reply March 6, 2017

    Annie Heppell

    Hello, I want ordering Biofinity toric by coopervision . But I have put my old boxes in trash and now I dont understand my prescription.

    OD ; -4,75 -1,00 0,88
    OS ; -4,75 -1,50 100

    So I dont know what cyl. And axis I need to take because they don’t have -1,50cyl. or 0,88 axis.

    • Reply March 8, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Annie,

      It looks like that might be your glasses prescription. Glasses and contact lens prescriptions are often slightly different — a contact lens prescription would include the brand name and the Diameter measurement.

      I would recommend contacting your eye care professional for a copy of your contact lens prescription. Otherwise, please feel free to give us a call at 1-866-414-2326 with any additional questions.



  • Reply March 30, 2017


    Hi i just wanna ask regarding my PD when i check my Glasses prescription it didn’t have the PD. I’m curious how will i know my PD

    • Reply March 30, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Camille,

      We have a second article all about your PD here:

      The quick answer is: sometimes your PD is not included. We first recommend calling your eye care practitioner’s office directly to ask if that’s something they can provide for you. If they cannot, you can then try to measure yourself and the blog linked will give you tips on how to do so.



  • Reply April 3, 2017


    Hello, I tried to order glasses from you today but I cannot input my ” axis ” because the number that my eye doctor prescribed is a negative number. I called the eye doctor and they confirmed that my axis is a negative number in both eyes how would I go about ordering glasses if the only prescription option for acid is a positive number ?

    • Reply April 4, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Krysta,

      If you give us a call at 1-866-414-2326, an agent will be able to help you decipher your prescription. Is this for glasses or contact lenses?



  • Reply April 5, 2017


    Hi, I have #’s for both OD and OS but doctor wrote nothing in my prescription for a PD #. Is that necessary for filling out my online order? Or can I just measure distance myself with a ruler or I have to go back to optometrist to measure that?

    • Reply April 6, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Jeff,

      We have a second article all about your PD here:

      The quick answer is: sometimes your PD is not included but it is definitely needed to complete any order for prescription eyewear. We first recommend calling your eye care practitioner’s office directly to ask if that’s something they can provide for you. If they cannot, you can then try to measure yourself and the blog linked will give you tips on how to do so.



  • Reply April 17, 2017


    I do not require a prescription but would like to order colour contacts.
    What information would I input in the OD and OS fields so there isn’t
    any corrective power?

    • Reply April 17, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Shannon,

      Even coloured contacts with no vision correction still require a prescription. The reason is because a contact lens prescription includes a base curve and diameter measurement, which determine how the contact lens will fit onto your eye. If you get the wrong parameters, you can wind up damaging your eye or — at the very least — being extremely uncomfortable.

      So we always recommend seeing your eye doctor for a prescription even if you don’t need correction.



  • Reply April 27, 2017


    I am wanting to order a new brand of contacts. My perscription says BC 8.3 but on the new brand I am wanting to buy it says BC 8.6.
    Am I still able to order these contacts or will they not fit properly.

    Thank you.

    • Reply April 27, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Melinda,

      A full contact lens prescription always includes the specific brand that your eye care practitioner recommends for fit and comfort compatibility. If you are wanting to change product, we always suggest going to see your doctor for a refreshed script first.



  • Reply May 9, 2017


    I was going to order contact for the first time. I’m sure my optometrist can give me an answer when I go see them next week, but was looking for a sooner answer.

    My prescription for myopia is
    Right = +0.00-1.00X098
    Left = +0.00-0.75X075

    Upon trying to enter it only gave me certain options like 0.80 rather than 0.75 and 100 rather than 98.

    Are there any issues with rounding up to the 0.80 instead of 0.75, and 100 instead of 098? I’m assuming this is a common occurance for ordering contacts.

    Thank you!

    • Reply May 11, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Brandon,

      Is there a contact lens brand listed on your prescription? If not, it sounds like you may have a glasses prescription, rather than one for contacts. Unfortunately the parameters do differ between the two, and typically your eye care professional will recommend a specific product and give you a sample before completing your script.

      I hope this helped. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns at 1-866-414-2326.



  • Reply May 22, 2017


    How do I enter my Prescription details on the online order through

    My prescription is as follows and I am looking for Progressive transition lenses

    O.D: +050
    O.S: +100
    Add: +2.00

    • Reply June 16, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Steve,

      If you’re looking for help with the ordering process, you can always give us a call at 1-866-414-2326.

      You should be able to enter all of those values into our prescription page, but if you’re having trouble then please do give us a call.



  • Reply June 10, 2017


    My prescription has an ADD value of +0.75, but this is not one of the options on the menu. I need progressive lenses. What do I do?

    • Reply June 16, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Krystale,

      Give us a call at 1-866-414-2326 and an eyewear representative should be able to assist you.



  • Reply June 10, 2017


    There are a couple of numbers missing on my prescription, Is it something you can help or do I need to contact my doctor?
    Under CYL for my right eye it says “sph” and under AXIS for the same eye is left empty.

    OD: -0.50, sph, (no value for Axis)
    OS: -0.50, -0.25, 175

    Thank you

    • Reply June 14, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Farhad,

      Typically this means to leave the fields for CYL and Axis empty (or at 0), but we alway recommend clarifying with your eye care practitioner if you’re unsure.



  • Reply June 14, 2017


    My contact lense prescription numbers don’t match the available list of values on your website. How do I pick the best match?

    • Reply June 16, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Dee,

      Are you ordering the specific brand recommended by your eye care professional? If you are, and you’re not seeing your specific values listed, please give us a call at 1-866-414-2326.



  • Reply June 15, 2017

    joseph quickl

    l like vision glasses . l want to know how much cost for glasses. let me knoe pls

    • Reply June 16, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Joseph,

      Our complete glasses packages start at $50 for a pair of frames and our always-free Standard Air Lenses, which accommodate single vision prescriptions from -3 to +3. That said, there are a lot of variables when it comes to finding your perfect pair of glasses — from the frame you like to the lenses you need. We recommend speaking with an eyewear representative if you’d like a price breakdown based on your own set of requirements.

      Call us: 1-866-414-2326.



  • Reply June 21, 2017


    To whom it may concern,

    I am interested in purchasing the “1 Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism 90 pack” contact lenses, but I am having trouble figuring out what information to put into the “Axis” and “boxes” info boxes.

    I was trying to add my right eye axis which is OD: X095, but the only option is 90 or 100. I’m not sure which one to choose

    It was the same for my left eye OS, which is OS: X085. The only options I have are 80 and 90. Again, I’m not sure which one to choose.

    Also, the “boxes” box. What does that mean? How many boxes do I need? 2 boxes was already preselected, but I just want to make sure I have all of the proper information before I purchase my contact lenses.



    • Reply June 23, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Laura,

      Is this the brand that your eye doctor prescribed? If you don’t see a brand listed, you may instead be working from a glasses prescription, rather than a contact lens prescription.

      If you instead see a different brand listed, then we always recommend sticking with the product prescribed by your doctor. If you’re looking to try something new, you can always visit them for an updated script.

      If you were prescribed for the 1 Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism 90 Pack and you’re not seeing your parameters, then give us a call at 1-866-414-2326 and we’d be happy to help one-on-one.



  • Reply July 13, 2017


    I cannot enter my PD numbers for my prescription as they are too high. It says Far 61 Near 58

    • Reply July 13, 2017

      Sarah Arboleda

      Hi Karen,

      This means that 61 is the PD you enter for distance prescriptions and multifocals. You’d use 58 for reading-only glasses.

      If you have any other prescription questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-866-414-2326.



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