What You Need to Know About Contact Prescriptions

The right contact lenses preserve and enhance your vision, giving you full-spectrum sight in all directions. However, the wrong contact lenses can damage your eyes and give you permanent vision problems. So, it’s important to follow the proper procedure when buying contact lenses

The first step is to find a reputable, licensed eye doctor in West Florida. A doctor will provide an initial consultation and perform a comprehensive eye exam. They can diagnose your condition and recommend the right eye care. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about contact prescriptions. If you have further questions, contact Gulf Coast Vision Center.

Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam

Every contact lens prescription begins with a comprehensive eye exam. The eye doctor performs an exam to identify issues and diagnose any conditions associated with your vision. Whether you are updating your contacts or getting new ones, an eye exam is necessary.

Before the exam, the eye doctor will conduct a full consultation and pull your medical history. You will also be asked to give a complete health history, including any medications you are taking and what health conditions you have previously been diagnosed with by other medical professionals.

During the exam, the eye doctor will check for common eye issues, such as near or farsightedness or low vision. They will also identify any health problems, such as glaucoma or cataracts. They may also check for more serious conditions, such as macular degeneration or eye cancer.

To learn more about what an eye exam includes, read our recent blog: What is an Eye Exam and Why is it Performed?

How to Read a Contact Lens Prescription Label

Many contact lens prescription mistakes are related to prescription labels. The doctor may have misprinted the label, or the patient may not have read or understood the information on the label. Before applying your contacts to your eyes for the first time, ensure you understand the label's information. 

A contact lens prescription label should contain the following information:

  • Patient name
  • Eye exam date
  • Prescription issue date
  • Prescriber contact information
  • Lens power
  • Lens manufacturer
  • Lens base curve
  • Lens diameter
  • Private label brand
  • Private label manufacturer

The power of your lens is measured in diopters. This indicates the level of correction your lens provides to correct and sharpen your vision. The correct power should give you 20/20 vision.

The base curve of a contact lens is the curvature of the back surface of the lens. It determines the type of fit the lens must have to match the natural curvature of your eye. It is usually expressed in millimeters and may be further categorized as steep, median or flat.

A private label or store brand is a contact manufactured by a major lens manufacturer, such as CooperVision, and packaged under the reseller’s own branding.

Prescription Label Abbreviations

EyeIndicates the treated eye. OD (oculus dexter) stands for the right eye. OS (oculus sinister) stands for the left eye.
BrandThe contact lens manufacturer brand or product type.
BCThe contact lens base curve of the inside of the lens is measured in millimeters.
DIAThe contact lens diameter is measured in millimeters from one edge of the lens to the other.
SPH/PWRThe corrective measurement. A negative number indicates nearsightedness (myopia), and a positive number indicates farsightedness (hyperopia).
CYLThe astigmatism measurement is in diopters.
AXThe placement of the lens power is measured in degrees.
ADDIndicates bifocal contact lenses. The degree of magnification to a certain portion of the lens is measured in diopters.

Schedule an Eye Exam Today at Gulf Coast Vision Center

Gulf Coast Vision Center carries an extensive line of contacts from popular brands, including Biofinity, Bausch + Laumb, Acuvue and Air Optix. We fit soft, semi-soft, rigid, toric, multifocal and hard-to-fit lenses. We adhere to the highest standards in the eye care industry. Visit us today for a comprehensive eye exam, eye care services and products.

Contact the Gulf Coast Vision Center in Pace, Milton or Crestview or at one of our Pensacola locations at Nine Mile or East Hill to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.