How to Read Your Glasses & Contact Lens Prescriptions

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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?

Claudia-contact-lens-prescription

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.

OD

Right eye parameters

OS

Left eye parameters

SPH

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

CYL & AXIS

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

ADD

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.

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

how-to-enter-your-rx-clearly

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.

BASE CURVE (BC) & DIAMETER (DIA)

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.

how-to-read-contact-lens-prescription

 

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

how-to-read-contact-lens-rx-2

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?

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18 Comments

  • Reply July 22, 2016

    Joe

    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.

      https://www.clearly.ca/progressiveframes?ilid=lnav

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

  • Reply August 16, 2016

    Marilyn

    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

    Aaron

    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 info@coastal.com

  • 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 info@coastal.com.

  • 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 info@coastal.com or at 1-866-414-2326.

  • Reply November 12, 2016

    Stephanie

    Hi,

    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?

    Thanks,
    Steph

    • 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 info@coastal.com or 1-866-414-2326.

  • Reply November 20, 2016

    Sarah

    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.

    Help!

    • 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 info@coastal.com 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 info@coastal.com, 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.

      Best,

      Sarah

  • 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 info@coastal.com or 1-866-414-2326.

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