Your eye test results and prescriptions explained

Your eye test and prescription can be confusing, especially if you’ve never worn glasses or contact lenses before; but, once you’re aware of how your eyes are tested, what to expect during your appointment and have a basic understanding of your eye prescription, you’ll realise that an eye test is just a routine procedure that ultimately helps monitor your eye health and maintain your best vision possible. If you are unsure of what to expect, you can read our guide to getting your eyes tested, which will also benefit those that would like to have their eye prescription explained.

All of our opticians have trained for a minimum of four years in order to qualify and are continually updating their skills and qualifications. All our eye tests are designed to check not only your prescription, but the health of your eyes and also to spot any possible eye conditions that may require further investigation.

Depending on your age and family history, your optician may also carry out checks for conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes. To find out how short or long sighted you are, your optician will run a number of tests, including asking you to read letters and words, with the print becoming smaller and smaller. Your glasses prescription will be determined by how many of these letters you manage to read clearly, before needing the help of a lens.

They will also test whether one eye is stronger than the other and try a range of different powered lenses to see what correction, if any, you require.

During your eye test, your optician will also examine the back of the eye to find out how healthy your eyes are and spot any potential problems. If you have any questions during your eye test, your optician will be happy to answer them.

If the eye test determines that you are in need of glasses, you will receive a prescription which will be unique to you and your vision. The test will have determined whether you are long sighted (can see into the distance but not so well up close) or are short sighted and have trouble seeing things far away. You can pick from a range of frames to have your lenses fitted into and there will be time after your test to try on a different of pairs to see which feel best. If you are new to glasses and are visiting Scrivens for the first time, don’t hesitate to ask the optician with help understanding your glasses prescription. You might also be confused if you are a regular visitor to the opticians and have come away with a change of prescription due to your vision changing slightly since your last visit. The optician will explain everything that you want to know, because understanding an eye prescription can be tricky. See below for a detailed guide to your glasses prescription. This particular kind of information can be useful if you are about to get new glasses or even if you want to know how to read a contact lens prescription. Whether you want great quality frames or are thinking about going with contact lenses, the below information is very handy to know.

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Your eye prescription explained

The Sphere (Sph)
This indicates the power of the lens that is needed to correct your sight.
A minus power ( – ) is prescribed if you are short sighted
A positive power (+) is prescribed if you are long sighted

The strength of lens is indicated by the numerical value; lens power is given in 0.25 steps; the higher the value, the stronger the lens required.

The Cylinder (Cyl)
Cylinders or Cyls are prescribed to correct Astigmatism. Astigmatism relates to the shape of the front of the eyes, as the eye can be shaped like a rugby ball as opposed to spherical like a football; the rugby ball shape can cause vision to be distorted. Cylinders help to correct astigmatism by providing further power across one area of the lens.

Axis
The axis is linked to the cyl as it indicates its position. It enables the cylinder to be placed in the correct position when the lens is mounted into a frame.

Near vision add
The near vision add is an amount of power which, when added to the distance prescription, will provide clear vision whilst looking at something within an arm’s length range.

Intermediate add
The intermediate add is an amount of power which, when added to the distance prescription, will provide clear vision whilst looking at something mid-range – a computer screen, for example.

Prism
Prisms are prescribed to help the eye muscles and reduce the feeling of eye strain or double vision (if present). Prisms help the eyes to work together.

Base
The base is the direction that the prism will be placed when the lens is being made.

An eye test isn’t something to be afraid of. Remember, if you’re struggling with your eyes, it not only restricts your vision but can also cause other problems, such as headaches. By getting the correct prescription, your eyes will no longer be under strain and you may find that you can lead a much better quality of normal life.

If you have any further questions when it comes to understanding your glasses prescription, understanding diseases of the eye or whether to choose glasses or contact lenses, don’t hesitate to get in touch. As well as this, if you have had an eye test and have been wearing your new lenses, but are still experiencing issues with your vision, headaches or dizziness, contact Scrivens today.