How to read your own Glasses RX

Unless you’ve had proper training, your eye glass prescription can confusing to navigate; without proper reading glasses it can be even harder! The best way to stay healthy is to stay informed, so we’re going to teach you the basics of reading your prescription (and figure out if you really need those readings glasses after all!).

Image of a complicated eye glass prescription.


Your prescription will always be written in a table or grid format. Even if the table isn’t labelled on your prescription, the numbers should be written in this format:

-0.75 -1.00 90
-0.50 -1.25 78


Your prescription begins with 2 basic variables, Spherical power and Cylindrical power. The top row of numbers is always your RIGHT eye, the bottom row for your LEFT eye. Spherical Power is the meat and potatoes of your prescription, doing the majority of the work correcting your vision. This portion of your RX affects your entire area of vision evenly.

Cylindrical power does the fine-tuning of your prescription, correcting astigmatism and directional blur. Cylindrical power is attached to the AXIS portion of your prescription, which dictates the direction of your cylindrical power and corrects directional distortion in your vision. These portions of your RX will affect all areas of your vision differently, depending on your numbers.

The numbers on your RX work with both positive and negative values;  usually negative values affect your distance vision and positive values affect your up-close and reading visions. Keep in mind that this is mostly true, as everyone’s eyes are built uniquely and exceptions to these rules are not uncommon. The safest and most accurate way to understand your prescription is also the easiest way: ask a professional!

Do you have more questions about your RX? Feel free to call us @ 905-849-1522,  send an email to, or write to us on Facebook or Twitter.

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