The Loxley prescription guide! | Loxley Opticians & Eyewear Experts

The Loxley prescription guide!

What do all these numbers and letters mean?

So you’ve had your eye examination and have been handed this confusing piece of paper. Well don’t worry, it won’t be a mystery much longer….

First things first

This is a prescription. It’s important to note that they can vary and may not look exactly like this.

However the key information will be the same!


This stands for spherical error and shows whether you have a plus or minus prescription.

The number following the sign shows the strength of the lenses you need. A smaller number= a milder condition.

Plus and Minus prescriptions:

Myopia: more commonly known as short sightedness, is indicated by a minus sign. This means you have difficulty seeing things far away.

Hypermetropia: More commonly known as long sightedness, indicated with a plus sign. This means you have difficulty seeing things that are near to you.

PL is short for plano (zero) and means there is no refractive error in the eye.

Want to know more about plus and minus prescriptions?


This stands for cylinder and shows severity of astigmatism. 

Astigmatism is where the eye is more elongated than a normal eye and can therefore cause vision to become out of focus.

There are many other varied symptoms that can present themselves as a result on Astigmatism, including eye fatigue, pain and dizziness.

Want to know more about astigmatism?


Axis shows the direction of astigmatism measured in degrees.

In more detailed terms, its the angle that the cylindrical power in your lens must be set to correct the astigmatism.

You may see DS written in the column which stands for dioptre sphere and means you have no astigmatism.


Prism & Base

Prism basically indicates your eyes don’t work well as a pair.

It’s short for prismatic power and is used to correct problems with binocular vision where both your eyes may have some difficulty working together. 

Correcting this helps prevent double vision or headaches.

The number in the prism column shows the strength of correction, and the base column shows which direction the prism is acting in.

Near and intermediate add: 

Near add refers to additional correction you need to focus at short distances- it’s more common over the age of 40. 

The intermediate add refers the additional strength of lenses you may need to bring ‘mid range’ distance in focus (usually the distance to a computer screen you’re viewing)

The near add is usually for close tasks such as reading. 

(it’s important to note that not all prescriptions will have a section for intermediate add, instead it may be written by hand if needed.) 

Needing a near add also is also called presbyopia: Want to know more about what presbyopia is exactly and why it occurs?


Stands for back vertex distance and is the distance in millimeters between the front of your eye and lens of your glasses.

The distance can influence the strength of your lens and is usually only needed to be given for higher strength prescriptions.

Here at Loxley we take eye care seriously. We are committed to providing you with the highest standard of care, in an open and relaxed environment.

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