The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Glasses Prescription

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Glasses Prescription

It's crucial to grasp the essence of your prescription. While it might seem like just a series of numbers that correct your vision, your prescription unveils much more, guiding us towards the optimal frame style for both vision enhancement and aesthetic appeal. It may even indicate the need for multiple pairs of glasses tailored to different activities.

How to understand your Glasses Prescription

Your prescription comprises elements like sphere (SPH), cylinder (CYL) for astigmatism, axis, and possibly an 'Add' value, particularly relevant as we age, representing a boost for reading. Understanding these components can provide insights into your lifestyle and eyewear needs.


Sphere (SPH): Reflects the overall power of the lens needed to correct your vision, whether short-sighted or long-sighted.

  • Myopia (Short-sightedness): Represented by a "-" in your prescription, indicating difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly.
  • Hyperopia (Long-sightedness): Denoted by a "+", suggesting near objects might be blurry, while distance vision remains relatively unaffected.
  • Presbyopia: This condition introduces the need for an additional reading correction, signifying changes in vision that affect both near and distant focus.


Astigmatism (CYL): Indicates an irregular curvature of your eye, requiring additional correction to rectify distorted vision.


Axis: Specifies the orientation of the astigmatism correction, measured in degrees from 0 to 180.


Add: Commonly, opticians note a single 'Add' for near vision. However, I advocate for two 'Adds' - one for close reading and another for intermediate distances, like computer use. This distinction is vital in our digital age, where screen usage demands a different focal length than traditional reading.


(It's important to remember that 'off-the-shelf' reading glasses might not cater to the nuanced needs of your prescription. The 'Add' value should complement your distance correction, akin to adjusting a camera's focus from afar to a closer range).


As you approach the selection of your new glasses, it's crucial to ensure your prescription is current and valid. Glasses prescriptions typically have a validity period, often ranging from 12 to 24 months, as determined by your optometrist based on the health and stability of your eyesight. This precaution ensures that your eyewear not only enhances your vision but also aligns with any changes in your eye health.


At The Optical Gallery, we offer comprehensive eye test's, dedicating 40 minutes to each session. This allows us not only to assess your eye health thoroughly but also to understand your unique visual lifestyle. By doing so, we can customise your vision solutions to fit your specific needs and ensure that we provide the most appropriate recommendations.

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The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Optician


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The Art of Choosing Eyewear: From Prescription to Personal Style


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Leveraging over twenty years of expertise, Nicos offers insights into understanding your prescription, staying ahead of eyewear trends, and aligning your glasses with your lifestyle. Filled with real client photographs showcasing their stylish frames, this guide celebrates the fusion of fashion and vision like never before.

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