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How To Read My Rx

This section provides basic information about eye care providers and eye exams.
Scroll over prescription to learn more.

Sample Prescription

Sphere (Power)

Also Called Strength or SPH (ranges from -20 to +20), Plano or Flat means no Power (0.00).

A measurement of how much correction is needed.


Left eye.


Right eye.

CYL (Cylinder)

This is just for toric or astigmatism lenses. Will have a – (minus) symbol. Is usually followed by an Axis number.

A measurement of how much correction is needed for patients with astigmatism.


Contact Lens Brand.


Just for toric or astigmatism lenses. Is between 0 and 180 and always ends in a zero.

Precise location of the point where correction is needed on the eye.

BC (Base Curve)

Usually an 8.x or 9.x number.

The curvature of the eye.

DIA (Diameter)

Ranges from 13.x to 15.x.

Precise location of the point where correction is needed on the eye.


Clear or Colored.


This will have a + (plus) in front of it or be labeled high, medium, or low depending on the brand.

Measurement for correction for Multifocal & Bifocal lenses only.

Below are specific questions pertaining to eye care providers and prescriptions.

1. How do I order a contact lens prescription?

If you have not been fitted for contact lenses, then you’ll need to see either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for a fitting. During the fitting, the optometrist or ophthalmologist will find the right contact lenses for your eyes.

Important questions to ask during your fitting:

  1. Can they release contact lens prescriptions?
  2. Is your contact lens product a nationwide brand?

It’s best to make sure that your eye doctor will release your information to us for your order. It’s also important to make sure your brand is carried by our office and doesn’t need to be a special order (which may or may not be accepted).

You can also see your optometrist if you’d like to switch brands.
Once you have a valid prescription, you are ready to order.

2. Can my Doctor charge me to release my prescription?

Under federal law, it is illegal to charge a fee to patients for copies of their own contact lens prescription. Some eye doctors may attempt to charge you but it is an illegal act (if you've been charged, click here to file a complaint).

3. Are contact lens prescriptions the same as an eyeglass prescription?

No, both contact lenses and eyeglasses are different. An eyeglass prescription will not have the product information, base curve, and proper measurement for your eye. If you are interested in either contact lenses or eyeglasses, visit your eye doctor for an eye exam and/or fitting.

4. How Do I schedule an Eye Exam?

Please visit your local eye doctor.