It’s easier than ever to buy new glasses or contact lenses – especially if you understand your prescription.
We’re here to help break down the numbers and acronyms that make up your prescription, so you know what’s what when it’s time to re-stock your lenses.
You might need a different lens for each eye – so your prescription has a column for both. They might have any of the following names or acronyms:
RE, R or OD for your right eyeLE, L or OS for you left eye
See a plus sign in front of the number here? It means you’re long-sighted (or you have trouble seeing things up close, like when you’re reading). If a minus sign is there it’s because you’re short-sighted (or having trouble seeing things far away).
The higher the number in this column, the stronger your lens prescription needs to be.
You’ll see a number in this column if you have astigmatism, where your cornea is more of an oval shape than a sphere. The higher the number here, the more significant your astigmatism is.
This measures the orientation of astigmatism in degrees (from 0 to 180). It shows how your lens should be positioned to correct your astigmatism.
The Add or Near Add means additional power that’s added onto the sphere power for reading prescriptions (if you need it).
You might be prescribed prism if your eyes aren’t working as a team. It re-directs light to the right part of your retina to help with double vision, eye strain and headaches.
This is the distance (in millimetres) from the centre of one pupil to the centre of the other. If it isn’t already on your prescription, here’s how you can measure it yourself:
If so, you’ll need a separate prescription, as contacts sit directly on your eye. A contact lens prescription is usually written sometime after your glasses prescription, and you’ll probably need a few visits to make sure the fit’s correct, your vision is good and you’re comfortable.
We’ve explained a few extra terms relating to your contact lens prescription below.
If your prescription includes this measurement, it’s used to describe the curvature of your lenses in millimetres.
This describes the size across the lens – but like the Base curve measurement, it might not be included.
Prescriptions expire, so it’s important to keep track of the date you should come back for another test. Regular and comprehensive eye exams don’t just keep your prescription up-to-date – they help you stay on top of your eye health as well.
Having regular eye tests can help identify and solve any vision problems, and they're a great way to get ahead of any underlying issues.
When you first have an eye test, your optometrist will get the lowdown on your eyes, vision, health and lifestyle in order to tailor the test to you.
Worried about the costs of getting your eyes tested? We’ve got good news. They’re usually bulk-billed if you’re covered by Medicare.