Understanding your prescription


Our guide to understanding your prescription

If you’ve ever left the optician, fresh from an eye test and taken one look at your brand new prescription and thought ‘WHAT THE HECK!?’, you are not alone. Glasses prescriptions can be tricky to understand, especially if you have a complex prescription. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Firstly, let’s tackle the basic terminology:

Check out our full guide of optical lingo right here (insert link – https://lowcostglasses.co.uk/understanding-your-prescription/)

The Different Optical Needs

Distance prescriptions usually consist of SPH, CYL and AXIS. CYL and Axis are not always populated.

Reading and Varifocal/ Progressive Lens prescriptions consist of your distance row of figures and NEAR ADD (near addition). Your distance figures will consist of SPH, CYL and AXIS. Cyl and Axis are not always populated.

For Computer/ Intermediate prescriptions you will need your distance SPH, CYL and AXIS and your INTER ADD (intermediate addition). This is usually different to your NEAR ADD (near addition). If you do not have this value, please check with your Optometrist that you are suitable for Computer/ Intermediate Lenses.

If you only require single vision lenses, you can choose whichever style of frames take your fancy. However, if your prescription is more complex, then we’d advise opting for a full frame rather than a rimless or semi-rimless style. This is to make sure that the thickness of the edge of your lenses is less noticeable. We would also suggest opting for a higher lens index such as Silver, Gold or Platinum, not only will your lenses be thinner but they will also be lighter and include Anti-Reflective coating.


Whilst you can choose whichever style of frames take your fancy, it is important to choose the correct lenses that have been recommended by your Optometrist. The recommended lenses should be clearly marked on your prescription but if in doubt you should always check with your Optometrist.

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