Eyeglass Prescriptions

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Topic Overview

Prescriptions for glasses have two main components: shape and power.

The shape of a lens determines the type of correction.

  • Concave, or minus, spherical lenses are thicker at the sides than in the middle to correct nearsightedness (myopia).
  • Convex, or plus, lenses are thicker in the middle than at the sides to correct farsightedness (hyperopia) or presbyopia .
  • Cylindrical (toric) lenses are curved more in one direction than another to make up for irregularities in the cornea that cause astigmatism .
  • Convex lenses or bifocals refocus the image on the retina when people with presbyopia lose the ability to focus on close objects around age 40.

The power of a lens determines the amount of correction. It is specified in diopters . The higher the number of diopters, the more vision correction the lens provides.


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology

Current as ofAugust 21, 2015