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How do I read my glasses prescription?
After an eye exam, your optician will give you a copy of your prescription. By UK law, they are required to give this information to you and if they haven’t, you should ask for it. Once you are given your prescription, it can be difficult to understand what the words and numbers mean. We've broken down the different parts of your prescription to make things easier.
What do the symbols on my prescription mean?
General top tips for entering your prescription
- Don’t mix up + and – values on sph and cyl values
- Axis values are exactly entered as they appear – don’t enter 15.5 if stated 155 on prescription.
- Reading glasses: don’t forget ADD (Near Add, NV Add) if there is one stated
- Computer glasses: you may find an Intermediate Add (also Inter Add or Int Add) Please use this to order your glasses for computer.
Most common prescription layouts from opticians
The examples below show various prescriptions from opticians alongside examples of how these prescriptions should look when entered on our website.
Sometimes the Near Add and Intermediate (Inter) Add will be worked into the prescription rather than being displayed separately.
In this example, the full intermediate and reading prescriptions have been provided.
To order glasses for computer, please enter the full intermediate prescription.
To order glasses for reading, please enter the full near prescription.
You might also find the following symbols on your prescription:
Balance or BAL Balance or bal refers to the prescription in that particular eye and means that no values are needed for that eye. The lens for this eye is made to the same weight so that the glasses feel balanced when on the face.
Here is an example of how balance would look on a prescription besides how it would be entered on our website:
DS stands for diopter sphere, which means a spherical correction. If this is left blank, then there is no astigmatism (cylinder and axis) that requires correcting.
Can I use my glasses prescription for contact lenses?
The prescription you are given for your glasses and the one you are given for your contact lenses are different. They should not be used interchangeably as contact lenses sit on the surface of the eye and glasses are flatter and sit further away from the face.
If you’re looking for help, check our guide on reading your contact lens prescription.
What types of lenses are there?
Depending on how your vision needs to be corrected, you will be prescribed a certain type of lens. The different type of lenses include:
- Single vision lenses-have one power across the lens and are used to correct short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism
- Bifocals-contain two different prescriptions within the lens and are used to see objects both near and far from you
- Progressive lenses/varifocal lenses-also known as multifocal lenses, these lenses have three prescriptions within the lens and are used for close-up work (e.g. reading a book), middle-distance work (e.g. looking at computer screen) and distance viewing (e.g. driving)
Take a look at our article for more information on glasses lens options for vision types.
Does FGC accommodate lenses for all prescriptions?
We do a wide variety of prescriptions; however, we are unable to do very strong or very high prescriptions. The combined sphere and cylinder (cyl) values cannot be greater than a minus 8 or a plus 6, with the cyl value not being over plus 2 or minus 2.
Please also note, we offer single vision lenses only.
You should now have a better understanding of what your eyeglass prescription means which will help you select the right optical glasses for you and your visual requirements.
If you have any questions regarding your prescription and choosing the right optical glasses for you, please do not hesitate to contact our helpful optical team by calling 0800 458 2090 (Free) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick links:How to know if your glasses prescription is wrong
How to choose the best lenses for my prescription
How to Read a Contact Lens Prescription