How to Understand Eye Prescriptions

Written by harper jones
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Once you understand what the numbers describing your eyesight mean, you can easily understand the prescriptions and conditions described to you.

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    How to Understand Eye Prescriptions

  1. 1

    Read your prescription. There should be two fields, one labeled OD and one labeled OS. Each field should have three numbers after it. OD is the abbreviation for the latin word oculus dexter, or right eye, while OS is the abbreviation of the latin oculus sinister, or left eye.

  2. 2

    Interpret the numbers. The three numbers after OS and OD represent, in order, the level or refractive error in each eye (how much the retina can or cannot focus on objects placed in front of it); the astigmatism, or lack thereof of the cornea (if the cornea is not spherical, it causes the eye to focus on images in two separate places, resulting in distorted vision); and axis, or the location (in degrees) at which the eye irregularity occurs.

  3. 3

    Understand that the first two numbers quantify the degree of damage. The larger the number, the greater the damage. If you have a negative number in the first column, this simply denotes farsightedness, while a positive number denotes nearsightedness. The larger the number, the larger the severity of the condition.

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