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Understand My Glasses Prescription (Rx)

Your prescription provides us with your doctor’s recommendation for clear and comfortable vision. Please take a brief moment now to review your information with our 3 samples shown here. They represent 3 different ways of writing the same prescription: OD= Right Eye; OS=Left Eye; OU = Both Eyes.


  • Your astigmatism correction (“cylinder”). Some doctors write their prescriptions in plus (+) cylinder and some in minus (-) cylinder. They are not the same. Take special note of this when entering your prescription later. If you don’t see anything there, leave it blank.
  • “dist” (distance) is often abbreviated “D.V.”
  • “near” (reading) is often abbreviated “N.V.”
  • For reading-only glasses: Some doctors will write the reading prescription separately, in its entirety (as “NEAR” or “N.V.” or “N.V.O.”), as in SAMPLE Rx #3. If this is the case, enter the power in the BOTTOM half of the form (you’ll see; it’s easy), and leave the ADD power blank (“0.00”).


  • Your doctor may use a blank Rx pad, not a pre-made Rx pad for eyeglasses only. If this is the case, you can draw imaginary grid lines to separate the numbers. It will separate the different values more easily for you. The top power is always the right eye & the bottom power is always the left.
  • If you don’t see numbers in some of the boxes (if there is no CYL or AXIS or ADD), leave those values blank when ordering. If you only see one number for each eye, it’s the “SPHERE” power; leave all the other fields blank.
  • It is common for the doctor to sometimes leave out the decimal points. If you see a number like -25 or +175, it is understood that your doctor means -0.25 or +1.75, respectively. Also, an axis of 5 (or 05) is the same as 005; 90 is the same as 090. It””s like using abbreviations or writing in short-hand.
  • If you have no astigmatism in one or both eyes, your doctor may just write the sphere power alone or may use placeholders like SPH (“sphere”) or D.S. (“diopters sphere”) instead.
  • If you have a prescription for bifocals, and you only see one ADD power, it’s understood that you have the same ADD for both eyes. If you don’t see an ADD power, leave it blank.
  • Some prescriptions may contain additional information such as visual acuity (V.A.) written as e.g. 6/9 or 6/12 or 6/5 etc. This is a measure of your corrected vision and is NOT required to make your new specs.


  • -50 = -0.50
  • +100 = +1.00
  • SPH or sph = SPHERE power; the “overall” power
  • D.S. or DS = diopters sphere (means you have sphere power only)
  • CYL or cyl = CYLINDER power; the amount of astigmatism
  • X = axis; X 90 means AXIS 090
  • ADD = how much power gets added to the distance Rx, for your reading-only Rx or for the bottom half of your bifocals/progressives
  • Pl or 00 or PLO = PLANO; it’s a placeholder for the number zero
  • O.D. or OD = right eye
  • O.S. or OS = left eye
  • O.U. or OU = both eyes
  • NV or NVO = near-vision or near-vision-only; your doctor is recommending “reading-only” glasses
  • P.D. or PD = pupillary distance (the distance in between your right pupil and your left pupil), in millimetres

If any of the details require explanation or appear ambiguous please contact us for confirmation before proceeding. Errors made inputting your prescription cannot be corrected after manufacturing your specs.

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