How to Read Your Prescription Paper

How to Read Your Prescription Paper

How to Read Your Prescription Paper

The meaning of prescription paper

The numbers and information on your prescription paper are indivisible to the strength of your vision. It shows the information for farsightedness, nearsightedness, and whether you have astigmatism.

When you order online, you’d better have a basic knowledge of the prescription paper, so you can order easily and accurately.


You may get a prescription paper from your eye doctor, like the one below. Though the form may be different, the information on the paper is similar. We have attached the basic explanation beside each word.

The meaning of prescription paper

The explanation on the paper is enough to help you make an order of prescription glasses. However, if you’re interested in knowing more, you can read the following words.


Fully understand of prescription paper

OD or RE: right eye

OS or LE: left eye

Some people may find OU on their prescription paper, which means “both eyes”.


Sphere (SPH): the amount of lens power needed to correct your vision

Nearsightedness: you can find numbers with a minus sign (–) under the heading SPH, e.g. -1.00

Farsightedness: you can find numbers with a plus sign (+)under the heading SPH, e.g. +1.00


Cylinder (CYL): the amount of lens power needed for astigmatism.

If you find nothing under this heading, it means you don’t have astigmatism, but some eye doctors may fill in “SPH” or “DS” in the CYL column. These letters also mean you don’t have astigmatism.


Axis: shows the direction where to position your CYL power in your lens. The number from 1 to 180 indicates the direction. If there’s CYL power on your prescription paper, you’ll need an axis number.


ADD: is added on the bottom part of the lenses to correct farsightedness.

For ADD/Progressive lenses, at the top they adapt to far vision; in the middle, intermediate vision; and at the bottom, near vision. The result is a simple and effective solution to presbyopia and is compatible with all visual corrections.

The number under this heading should be a “+” power, usually ranging from +0.75 ~ +3.00, and would be the same number for both of your eyes.

ADD/Progressive lenses

PD (Pupillary Distance): measures the distance between the centers of your pupils. This measurement is used to determine where you look through the lens of your glasses and should be as accurate as possible. The average adult’s PD is between 54-74 mm.

PD (Pupillary Distance)

Prism: the amount of prismatic power. This is used for people who have double vision or diplopia only and help them to align the two images. Regularly, your prescription paper doesn’t contain this column.


Now you have known all the explanations of numbers on your prescription paper, you can fill in the information accurately when you order. Only with accurate prescription information can we make accurate lenses for you.


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