April 08, 2016


Unless you have 20/20 vision (perfect vision), chances are you are either nearsighted (struggle to see distant objects clearly e.g. road signs), farsighted (struggle to see close objects clearly e.g. menus), or astigmatism ( blurred vision a condition where the cornea is irregularly shaped). None of which are eye diseases.

Now it’s one thing to have your eyes tested but in the event your doctor gives you an eye prescription, it can be quite daunting to try to decipher the numbers as well as all technical abbreviations in your prescription. Below is a simple guide to assist you to be able to speak knowledgeably with your optician when purchasing your next pair of prescription glasses.

Typically the prescription you will receive will be presented to you in the form of a grid. In this grid numbers will be allocated to every category (abbreviated terms). These numbers represent diopters, a unit used to measure the lens power needed to correct your vision. If the number is zero, this is very positive. The further away from zero the numbers are, the weaker your eyesight. 

If there is a plus sign in front of the number it means you are farsighted. If there is a minus sign, it means you are nearsighted.

The abbreviations SPH, CYL, AXIS, and PRISM will be written across the top of the grid, while OD, OS, and OU will be written down the left hand side of the grid. Below is a quick explanation of the abbreviations:

OD and OS:     oculus dexter and oculus sinister, which are Latin terms for right eye and left eye.

In more recent years, some doctors prefer to use the more modern terms RE (right eye) and LE (left eye) instead of OD and OS.

OU:        This is the abbreviation for the Latin term oculus uterque, which means "both eyes."


SPF:        (or Sphere) indicates the prescription power or how strong your lenses need to be to         correct your vision

CYL:        (or Cylinder) denotes astigmatism, a condition where the cornea is irregularly shaped         causing blurred or distorted vision.

AXIS:        Describes the degree and direction of your astigmatism

PRISM:        tells you the amount of prismatic power needed to correct eye alignment problems    

As we all know it is of vital importance to visit your local eye doctor for your routine eye exam. Pop into your local Vision Works and get the Vision Works comprehensive eye test for only R90! 



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