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Sphere
Cylinder
Axis
Prism
Axis
Left eye
-5.0
0.5
85
   
Right eye
+ 2.5
   

Most people that we talk to do not understand their vision prescription at all – it may as well be Greek!. Here is a guide to help you in understanding what your optometrist is talking about.

Left and right eye.

There is a column or a row dedicated to each of your eyes since there often is a difference between the vision in your eyes. Sometimes the eyes are identified simply with an “R” for right and “L” for left.

What is a diopter?
A diopter is the power of the lens that is needed to correct your vision to normal (20/20 or metric 6/6) the higher the number the stronger the lens.

The first column is usually reserved for the main vision ability. It is often labelled “Sphere.” If you are near sighted the notation will be minus – and is described in diopters. For example – 5.0 which is read as ‘ minus 5 diopters’.

Mild near sight is less than 2 diopters – you can see clearly out to 50 cm (about 20 inches) from your eyes.
Medium degree of near sight would be between 2 and 4 diopters – you can see clearly out to between 25cm, approx 10” (4 diopters) and 50 cm. approx 20” (2 diopters).
High degree of near sight is anything above 4 diopters.

If you have presbyopia or are far sighted then the notation will be + and is also described in diopters. For example + 2.5 which read plus 2.5 diopters

Astigmatism
The second column on the prescription is labelled “Cylinder” and refers to the degree of Astigmatism in diopters. For example, you might have 0.5 diopter Astigmatism.
The third column is labelled “Axis” and refers to the angle in which you have Astigmatism. This will be described in degrees. For example, 85°

Mild Astigmatism is about 0.5 diopter
Medium Astigmatism is around 1.5 diopters.
Severe Astigmatism is more than 2 diopters – this is also much fewer cases.

Divergence

This column describe the power of the prism element that may be included in the perscription and is lables Prism. The last column indicate the angle or axis in which the prism element is incerted.

 

 
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