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Understanding your prescription

Below are examples of prescriptions. The first set are standard prescriptions. Look through these to get an idea of how to understand your prescription. Printed prescriptions are generally quite easy to understand, it’s mostly handwritten ones that cause problems. Opticians usually seem to have bad handwriting!

Common layouts of prescriptions

This is a standard NHS prescription:

It would be written as follows:


It would be written as follows:

Dolland & Aitchinson

This time the signs have been written ABOVE the numbers - they are still just standard +/- signs
Also, they optician has written 125 instead of 1.25. It should still be entered as ‘1.25’ with a decimal point.
There is only one value for Near ADD, this should be entered for both eyes.

It would be written as follows:

Vision express

Here the additions are located away from the rest of the prescription, it would be written as follows:

More unusual figures

Sometimes figures like this appear on your prescription. These are not needed to make your lenses.

Some prescriptions have this figure, which looks like a sideways 8. This means ‘infinity’. And you should select ‘infinity’ from the list.

Sometimes opticians write ‘DS’ in the CYL column. This simply means there is no astigmatism, and you can enter nothing (leave the field blank)