Understanding Your Contact Lens Prescription

If you wear contact lenses or have recently decided to wear them, you will get a prescription from your eye doctor after your eye exam.   It is important to understand your prescription, so here are some tips to make sure you do!

Remember to always ask your eye doctor any specific questions you have about your contact lens prescription.  If you need to make an eye exam, find an America’s Best store.

1. A contact prescription can differ from an eyeglass prescription.

If you have worn eyeglasses before, your contact lens prescription may be slightly different.  This is because eyeglasses are further from the eye and contact lenses sit directly on the eye.

2. Be informed.

Always get a copy of your prescription.  You are entitled to a copy of your contact lens prescription by law.  Do research and ask your eye doctor questions so that you understand it completely.  If you are confused or have questions, make sure to get clarifications.  Depending on your state’s laws, prescriptions for contact lenses last 1-2 years.  Once your prescription has expired, you must get a new one.  It may seem like a pain, but it is in the best interest of your eye health to ensure proper prescriptions for your contact lenses.

3. Know the terms.

There are a lot of terms, abbreviations and measurements involved in your prescription.  Specific terms must be placed on the label in order to follow appropriate laws.  Here are the things you will commonly see on your contact lens prescription:

OS/OD/OU – OS stands for the left eye.  OD is for the right eye.  If you see OU, then the prescription is the same measurement in both eyes.

BC – This stands for base curve. The lower the number, the steeper the curve is in your cornea.

DIA – This stands for the diameter.  It’s the distance from one edge of your contact lens to the other.  A correct measurement here reduces irritation from a contact lens.

ADD – This stands for add power and is used with bifocal lenses. The add power is measured in diopters.

COLOR – This is included in the prescription only if the lenses change or enhance the color of your eyes.

BRAND – This is the manufacturer’s name of the contact lens.

If you have astigmatism, these two will also be useful for you to understand:

CYL – This stands for cylinder.  A negative sign means nearsightedness and a plus sign means farsightedness.

AXIS – This isn’t short for anything as it just refers to the axis. It is used in order to compensate for the oval shape of the cornea.

Once you are ready to order your contacts, be sure to check out our affordable pricing on contact lenses.

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