We Value Your Privacy

We and our partners use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology across the web. You can change your mind and change your consent choices at anytime by returning to this site.

Update Consent
Loading ...

How to convert a contact prescription to a glasses prescription

Updated April 17, 2017

Contact prescriptions differ from glasses prescriptions. Because contact lens prescriptions require different information, including the size and shape of the lenses, the two prescriptions contain different details. It is important to understand the differences before converting contact prescriptions to glasses.

Loading ...
  1. Note the prescription power of the contact lenses. The power, also called dioptre, is written as plus for farsightedness, such as +2.00, and minus for nearsightedness, or -2.00. Your power can start at 0.00 and increases in .25 steps to as high as 20.00 dioptres or more. If your contact prescription is plus or minus 4.00 dioptres or more, optical math is used to convert the prescription.

  2. Check with your eye doctor to compensate for vertex distance if the prescription is stronger than plus or minus 4.00 dioptre. The power changes depending on how far a corrective lens is from the eye. Contact lenses sit right on the cornea. Glasses lenses rest an average of 10 millimetres away. The lens power is different as you move a lens further from the eye and the numbers will be different in a contact and glasses prescription beginning around 4.00.

  3. Measure the PD (pupil distance). Hold a ruler in front of the person to be measured and have them look straight ahead. Line up the 0 on the ruler in front of his right eye.

  4. Look at the ruler as he continues to look straight ahead and measure where the lines of the ruler fall in front of the other pupil. From centre of pupil to centre of pupil is called the PD and averages 56 to 68 millimetres. This number is needed to determine where to put the optical centre of the glasses lenses.

  5. Do not try to convert toric power, the correction for astigmatism written as cylinder, from a toric contact lens prescription as this will be different for a spectacle prescription. If you have a considerable amount of astigmatism, the only way to obtain the spectacle powers is to refer to the original refraction or redo the eye exam.

  6. Disregard the base curve and diameter of the contact lens prescription. These numbers are needed only for the fit of the contact lens and do not need to be considered for the spectacle prescription.

  7. Tip

    Check with your eye care professional if you need additional help interpreting your contact lens or glasses prescription.

Loading ...

Things You'll Need

  • Ruler with millimetres

About the Author

Beth Richards, a freelance writer since 2002, writes about health and draws from her 25 years as a licensed dispensing optician. She has authored several books, writes for national magazines including "Country Living" and "Organic Family" and is a health and wellness features writer for several publications. She is earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland.

Loading ...