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How to find out what prescription your glasses are

If you’ve had your glasses for a while, you may be thinking that it’s time for a change. Today, there are so many options when it comes to glasses. There are different colors, shapes and styles, as well as glasses with new, integrated technology - and the possibilities multiply when you're looking at all the options available online. 

However, if you’re looking to upgrade your specs, there’s one little problem - you need to know what your prescription is. Now, you can always go to the optometrist to have an eye exam done - and you definitely should as your prescription changes over time. However, if your eyesight has remained stable, you can simply look at your current prescription and order new glasses based on that. 

Are there apps that can tell you what your prescription is?

Technology is truly amazing. A couple of years ago, you would have had to go to your optometrist every time you needed to get new glasses. Today, there are amazing apps that can scan the lenses of your glasses and tell you exactly what your prescription is. 

How do you read your prescription?

Your prescription contains numbers, symbols and text which will tell you whether you're near or farsighted, how strong your lenses are, as well as whether your eyesight is different in either eye. Here are the signs you need to know in order to decipher your prescription. 

  • A plus (+) sign: A + sign indicates that you need lenses that will correct for farsightedness - meaning you can see things that are a distance away, but you cannot see things that are up close. The value following the + sign will indicate how strong a lens you need to correct your farsightedness. The higher the value, the stronger the prescription. 
  • A negative (-) sign: A - sign will indicate shortsightedness - you guessed it, you can see things up close but not the things that are far away. The value following the - sign will show how strong a lens you need to correct your short-sightedness. 
  • Spherical correction (SPH): This will indicate what lens strength will correct the vision of your eye. Generally, this will be the first number listed on your prescription. 
  • Cylindrical correction (CYL): This is the second value listed on a prescription, and it will only be present if you have astigmatism. 
  • OS and OD: These letters are used to indicate your left and right eye, respectively, as it's quite normal for people to have different visual acuity in either eye. OS, which stands for Oculus Sinister, is used to indicate the left eye. OD, which is the abbreviation for Oculus Dexter, is used to refer to the right eye. 
  • PRISM: Some people with visual defects find that their eyes don’t work together, such as when one eye tilts outward, and the other looks straight ahead. To fix this, optometrists will build a prism into the lens to help correct this issue. So, you will only find this abbreviation on your prescription if you have this issue. 
  • ADD: This stands for ‘addition’, which indicates the strength the lenses need to be in order to magnify objects and improve your near vision. 
  • AXIS: If you happen to have astigmatism, the AXIS notation will indicate to optometrists where the astigmatism correction needs to be placed in the lenses. 

Now, while it’s possible to check your current prescription and order new glasses that have added your lenses to them, it's still recommended that you have your eyes tested by a professional. This should be done every two years to ensure your vision hasn’t deteriorated, as that means you’ll need to get new prescription lenses. 

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