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Pritchard-Cowburn Opticians News

How bad is my vision prescription?

Been for an eye test? Wondering how bad is my vision prescription? Here’s how to interpret how severe your short or long-sightedness actually is.

Remember, short-sightedness is where things that are close to you are clearer than objects further away. Long-sightedness is when items near to you are blurred and those a greater distance away are more clear.

The entries on an optical prescription mean a number of different things related to your eyesight and the anatomy of the eye. This includes the degree to which you are near or far-sighted in each eye and other adjustments that will be required from the lenses prescribed to correct your vision so that it is as close to 20/20 as possible.

It’s also important to know that a glasses prescription is not the same as a contact lenses prescription. There is certain information on each type of prescription relevant to either the wearing of spectacles or the type of contacts that are best suited to fit your eye.

In simple terms, how bad is my vision prescription?

The numbers and symbols, abbreviations, scribbles and comments on an eye prescription are impossible to interpret without explanation. It doesn’t help that as medical practitioners, opticians like to use Latin words either.

That means that the entry for ‘OD’ on an eye test prescription stands for oculus dexter meaning right eye. And ‘OS’ is oculus sinister as in left eye.

There are several entries listed on an optical prescription, but if you’re like most people, you’re probably just wondering ‘how bad is my vision prescription?’ – as in how bad is my long or shortsightedness?

As an aside, there’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ result from an eye test. It’s more a case of how severe your vision impairment is, what will be required to correct it and the strength of lenses needed to do so.

Whether you’re near or far-sighted will be indicated in the ‘SPH’ (sphere) column. A minus sign followed by numbers means you’re short-sighted. A plus sign followed by numbers means you’re long-sighted.

As a general rule, the following strengths can be classified as follows:

  • -0.25 to -3.00 is mild nearsightedness
  • -3.00 to -6.00 is moderate nearsighedness
  • Lower than -6.00 is severe nearsightedness
  • +0.25 to +3.00 is mild longsightedness
  • +3.00 to +6.00 is moderate longsightedness
  • Higher than +6.00 is severe longsightedness

Have more questions about the strength of your optical prescription?

If you are coming into our Narberth or Cardigan opticians for an eye test, your ophthalmologist or any other member of the optical team will be able to answer any questions you have and explain what the other entries on a spectacle or contact lens prescription mean.

Or if you have already had an eye test in Cardigan (or anywhere else for that matter) and have a query on a vision prescription, get in touch and our friendly, experienced team will be happy to help.

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