How To Read A Contact Prescription


Your contact lens prescription is much more than a formality and a reason to regularly see your eye doctor. A whole lot of customization goes into the making of each set of lenses, and your prescription is an important tool that helps to make that customization possible. It contains detailed information on the physical shape and characteristics of your eyes, as well as your vision related needs. Here is some information to help you understand the information on your prescription, learn how to read a contact prescription, and the role of a prescription in keeping your eyes healthy and safe.

How do I read my contact lens prescription?

At first glance, a contact lens prescription may not look much like a prescription at all. It’s much more detailed than a typical prescription, and that’s because of the customizable nature of contact lenses. On your prescription, you will notice individual measurements for each eye, and your left eye may be abbreviated “OD” for “oculus dexter,” and your right “OS” for “oculus sinister.”

learn how to read a contact prescription

The measurements on your prescription cover the refractive power that is necessary for each eye, which is often not the same, as well as various physical characteristics. These physical measurements are necessary to ensure that the lenses fit properly and do not cause discomfort or infection, and your eye doctor will perform several tests and scans to make them. You will also notice on most prescriptions spaces for brand, color, and expiration dates for your lenses. With all of this detailed information, you can come out with contact lenses that are safe, practically, and perhaps even stylish!

When does my contact lens prescription expire?

Contact lens prescriptions are typically valid for the minimum time required by law, which is one year, and in some cases they can be valid for longer. That means you will be seeing your eye doctor about once a year for a new exam and prescription. The reasoning behind these requirements is that updated prescriptions lead to better eye health and comfort. Vision related needs change over time, and therefore your contact lens prescription must change as well. A patient with farsightedness might need more refractive power than they did one year ago, and not updating a prescription can certainly lead to further problems down the road.

Ill-fitting contacts can lead to discomfort or worse, and an eye doctor is able to perform tests, looking for marking or abrasions on the eye, to ensure that your lenses sit properly on your eyes before you even start to notice discomfort. During your yearly exam, he or she will also test to make sure that the eye care products you use are working as intended and not posing any health risks. In rare cases, certain contact lens solutions and other products can cause issues that your doctor can point out.

Since your prescription is so detailed, once you have it, you can then explore a wide range of options for purchasing your contact lenses. And wherever it is you purchase your lenses, you can know that they will fit your individual needs.



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