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Buying Your Frames

Your Prescription Explained

You need to have an in date copy of your prescription before you can place an order for prescription glasses or prescription sunglasses. Your prescription is in date so long as it is not over 2 years old unless it states otherwise. If your are over 70 then it must be no more than 1 year old.

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians, the Association of Optometrists and the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians recommend regular eye exams, at least every two years. Remember, an eye test does not only check that your prescription is right for you; it is also a check on the health of your eyes and visual system. Many eye diseases can go unnoticed until it is too late to treat them effectively so it is important to have regular eye tests even if you feel you can still see well.

Your prescription may be entered into our online order form when ordering prescription spectacles. You can also add additional notes in the comments box provided. If you have any doubts about whether you have done it correctly, you can email a scanned copy of your prescription with your order number to us so our Optician can then check it for any obvious errors before proceeding with your order.

Your prescription may seem a little confusing at first glance but it really is quite simple to understand.

R and L
‘R’ refers to your right eye, ‘L’ to your left.

SPH (sphere)
The amount of power required to correct your vision.
Plus (+) lenses are used to correct long sight.
Minus (-) lenses to correct short sight. The higher the number, the stronger the lens required.

CYL (cylinder)
The amount of correction (if required) to remove any visual distortion, caused by an irregularly shaped cornea known as an astigmatism.

The direction that the cylinder (if required) will be built into your lenses to correct your astigmatism. It is measured in degrees between 0 and 180.


Any correction (if required) to help balance your eye muscles so they work as a pair more comfortably. A prism is a lens that bends the path of light without altering its focus. If your prescription contains a prism, kindly contact us with your full prescription as your lenses may need to be custom made which may a small additional fee.

ADD Near
This is the amount of correction that must be added to your distance prescription to enable you to see near objects clearly, such as reading a book or map.

ADD Inter
The amount of correction that needs to be added to your prescription to enable you to cope with intermediate distances, such as working at a computer or reading music.

We strongly recommend you ask for your PD (Pupillary Distance) from your Optician. This is a measurement of the distance between your pupils, and is important for us to have so your lenses are made correctly for you. If you cannot get your PD, in most cases (except for those with particularly high prescriptions) we can use specific criteria such as your gender and the size of frame you have chosen to determine a PD measurement for you. Nevertheless, it is quite simple to measure your own PD.

The best way is to have a friend help you, look at a point in the distance whilst your friend takes the measurement in millimeters. It is easier and more accurate to measure from the limbus to limbus as the high contrast boundary is easier to see. (The limbus is where the white part of the eye meets the coloured part of the eye). This will give you the same measurement as measuring from the center of the pupils.