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How To Read Your Eyeglass Prescription

Posted by RED BEE Eyewear on

We understand that you might struggle with confusion on purchasing eyewear online especially if you are unsure on how to read the prescription. Fred not, we are here to help you solve the puzzle!

Have you ever had an eye exam at the eyewear shop and your optometrist has given you an eyeglass prescription? And that’s when you know that you need/do not need a pair of eyeglasses - you might have nearsighted or farsighted, or perhaps that you have astigmatism. You probably want to discover more about it here. Now the real question is… do you actually understand how to read on the terms, such as - R,L, AX, SPH and CYL? Does any of these terms jargon to you? He-he. Continue reading this article, it helps!


You should understand R and L - it simply meant to indicate right eye and left eye. The power of both eyes could be different. SPH is the short term for Sphere, which to indicate the amount of lens power, prescribed to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. You might also realise from the eye test results, you will get a minus (-) sign, or a plus (+) sign, or none. As for minus (-) sign, means you are nearsighted; for plus (+) sign or none, simply means you are farsighted.


CYL is the short term of Cylinder. This indicates the amount of lens power for astigmatism. If you have no astigmatism or it is so slight that it is not necessary to correct it with your eyeglasses, you probably will not have CYL appears in your eye test results. The number in the CYL may be preceded with minus (-) or plus (+) sign too. The minus (-) sign is for the correction of nearsighted astigmatism whereas the plus (+) sign is for farsighted astigmatism. Please note that the CYL power will always follow SPH power in an eyeglass prescription.


AX is the short term for Axis. This describes the lens meridian that contains no CYL power to correct astigmatism. The Ax is defined with a number of 1 to 180, and the number 90 corresponds to the vertical meridian of the eye and the number 180 corresponds to the horizontal meridian. The AX is the lens meridian that is 90 degrees away from the meridian that contains the CYL power.

If you are still unsure with your prescription, you can always ask your optometrist for clarification. Trust us, you need to know every single details about your prescription before you get yourself  a pair of eyeglasses. By doing so, you can also track back your eye test results and fully aware on your eyes health! (yes, your eyes could possible gets better!). Also, please understand that prescription on eyeglasses will be different with prescription on contact lens. We advise you to seek for the professionals to understand it better.


If you would like to understand further, you can watch this youtube video. Hope this helps!


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