In the UK, there are several different layouts and ways of writing a glasses prescription, and the way one optician lays it out may differ from another. However, despite the difference in layout, all glasses prescriptions contain the same information that you need to order glasses online. The easiest way to minimise errors when ordering glasses online would be to upload a photograph or a scan of your prescription, and we would highly recommend that you do so. However we also understand that’s not always possible. In this helpful guide we’re going to show you the most common ways a prescription can be written and how that would need to be put into our system when placing an order.
What are the values on my prescription?
A basic prescription consists of up to three values for each eye. These are SPH (Sphere), CYL (Cylinder) and AXIS. There will be either a plus or a minus in front of the SPH and CYL, and it is vital that you select the correct symbol when you tell us your prescription as these values tell us what shape your lenses need to be! If you use a + instead of a – or vice versa, you won’t be able to see through your glasses at all… so it’s quite important!
If your prescription has a value in the ‘Prism’ and ‘Base’ boxes, please click here.
An example prescription:
Take for example, the two NHS prescriptions in the image above. These are the two most common ways prescriptions are written; and believe it or not, they both contain the same information but in different ways (more on that later).
You can see how it’s split into left eye and right eye, and it also has a Distance row and a Near row. There are also headings for SPH (Sphere), CYL (Cylinder) and AXIS.
In the next paragraph we’ll show you how you would input information from these prescriptions on our website when ordering glasses.
So how do I know how to input prescription values?
Let’s say for argument’s sake that you want to order single vision distance glasses for driving and watching TV. Since you’re using them for distance activities, you’d take the values from the relevant row (highlighted red in the image below).
The above Distance prescription would be input on our website like so:
What about reading glasses?
Reading glasses are slightly more complicated as reading values can be written in two different ways: as a whole value, or as an ‘add’. Let us just quickly bring your attention back to this image:
Both prescriptions above contain the same information but written differently. Let’s start with the version that has an ‘ADD’ written in the Near row:
This basically means to make your lenses, we will use your distance prescription with your ‘ADD’ on top to make it suitable for reading instead. It would be input onto our website like this:
However, if you DON’T have an ‘ADD’, and instead you have all of the values written out in the Near row, it will look something like this:
If this is the case, you can leave the ‘ADD’ box blank and just input the SPH, CYL and AXIS values from the Near row, as you can see below:
Wait! I have an 'add' AND values in the reading row, what do I do?!
If your prescription has both a ‘Near’ section AND an ‘Add’ on it somewhere, it may look similar to the below example:
If this is the case, you can use either of the methods above to input your prescription – but please be careful not to mix both!
If you use your near prescription, YOU DO NOT NEED TO INCLUDE THE ADD AS WELL. You should only include the ‘Add’ if you are using it on top of your distance prescription to make it into reading.
If you put an add on top of your reading prescription, you’ll end up with glasses far too strong for you, so please be mindful of this!
How about varifocals?
For varifocals, we need your distance prescription and your add, so that we can make your lenses with both distance and reading parts to them. If your prescription isn’t written with an add, you’ll need to upload a photograph of your prescription and we’ll decipher the details for you to minimise the risk of errors.