Save That Lens Prescription





Introduction: Save That Lens Prescription

About: CrLz : Ideas, ideas and ideas - Love it when I get one hammered out and working. Seems like there is plenty of room for creativity, in between cheap goods and expensive solutions, and beyond those boxes...

Every time I go to order contact lenses, I've lost the prescription specs.  All I need is the label from my lens refills, something I threw away months ago.

Here's a quick life-hack: use double sided tape to attach a label to the bottom of your lens case.  Problem solved!



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    17 Discussions

    Here's my even simpler instructable: Take a picture of the label with your phone (which is always with you). Show it to your optician when you need to re-order. problem solved. I do this with all sorts of things... including taking a picture of my handwritten scribbled notes if they have important info. Your phone camera is a very handy "note-keeper".

    1 reply

    Ya, totally! I started doing the same. Good forbid my phone gets h4acked...

    If possible, see if you can get a trial pair of daily-replacement lenses when you get your prescription. I don't prefer the feeling of them, but having an emergency pair stashed in a purse of backpack can be extremely useful. If you lose your bag, or something happens to the lenses, it's not as big a loss as a pair of your usual lenses.

    1 reply

    that is really cool but i always carry a replacement pair in their original prescription package with them both in a large tic tac case.

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    Sounds good. My problem is I use that last pair, wear them way too long, then have no documentation. Bad time to be searching for specs...

    Thank you for your excellent explanation of contact lense prescriptions. I have been a lense tech for 5 years and have never heard it explained better.
    Prescription info ( all prescriptions, not just contact or eyeglass) should always be carried with you in case you need an emergency replacement as I did on a cross country motorcycle trip some years ago.
    Happy trails,

    Yes, I agree, very nice. I do this with "bigger" pieces of equipment, but never thought about the smaller ones.

    Good idea/ ible and will surely save me money. The info from the third man is invaluable and a service to all. On a lesser note, my step dad (X X step dad) wanted to have his prescription tattooed onto his eyeballs. My mom and I had to drag him out of the tattoo parlor and bribe him with pinks chili dogs (he ate like about 13). To this day he still thinks it was a good idea.

    2 replies

    Glad it is useful.

    Looks like your X X step dad watched Memento a few times...

    But what would he do when his prescription changes?

    That's what we said (about the prescription changing) but he wasn't having it. Needless to say, he was a strange man. Also, this was years before that movie came out.

    I'm actually an optician. I thought it might be useful to let everyone know (if they don't already) which information is actually important to have on hand. Most manufacturers intentionally overcrowd the packaging with info in order to make it harder for patients to decipher.

    One other quick note before we get started: Your glasses prescription is not at all the same thing as your contacts prescription. They are NOT interchangeable in any way whatsoever. They are two entirely different things. Alright, back to the helpful part...

    Basically, these are the three key things you need to know:

    1. The Brand-  Contact Lens Rxs are brand specific.

    2. The Spherical Correction-  It will look something like "+5.50" or "-0.75". This number will have a "+" or "-" in front of it, and the numbers after the decimal point will always be in quarter diopter steps; e.g.- "-2.00", "-2.25", "-2.50", "-2.75", and so on. If you see the word "Plano", it's just another way of saying "0.00".

    3. The Base Curve- This one will look something like "8.6" or "8.8", usually listed after or under the letters "BC". The vast majority of the time it will be a number between "8.3" and "8.9". Sometimes, however, the Base Curve will be listed instead as "Median" ("MED") or "Steep". Either way, numbers or words, they'll understand what you need.

    One other number that is almost always printed, but is rarely useful is the Diameter, typically indicated by "DIA". In almost every case, the kind of lenses that optical dispensaries keep in stock only come in one diameter, or, at most, one diameter per Base Curve. This is one of the examples of numbers on the packaging being there more to mystify the patient than actually serve a purpose as far as identification. Don't get me wrong, lens diameter can be important, but the other parameters will determine it for you with most soft lenses.

    Those three things will cover more than 90% of the people reading this. There are a couple of exceptions that I'll list just in case though. These only apply if you either have astigmatism or you are presbyopic (you need bifocals).

    If you have astigmatism you'll need to know the Cylinder power as well. It's written in the same way as the Spherical power and is normally either clearly marked, or written right after the Spherical power. Whenever there is a Cylindrical correction, it will always be accompanied by  an Axis. The Axis will be a number between "0" and "180" and will often have a lower case "x" in front of it. Without the Axis, the Cylinder is meaningless.

    If you have presbyopia (if you wear multifocal contacts) you will also need to know your Add Power. Again, this is written similarly to the Spherical or Cylindrical powers except it will never have a "-" in front of it. It is always "+"; even if it is not written, it is assumed. In some cases manufacturers will use the terms "High" or "Low" instead of the numbers. The Add power is almost always clearly marked with the word "Add", and is usually going to be between "+1.00" and "+4.00". It is extremely unusual for it to be any higher than "+6.00".

    OK, as I'm looking back over this I'm realizing that I've just thrown a ton of information at you and written a minor novella in the process. My apologies for that, I was just trying to be thorough. In all honesty, this can all be simplified down to this:

    If you are getting lenses that are meant to be thrown away at some point in the next month or so, the three pieces of information that you need to know are- Brand, Spherical Correction (or simply Power), and Base Curve. If you have astigmatism, add in Cylinder and Axis. If you wear multifocals (bifocals, progressives, etc.), you need to know the add power as well. Write down the info that applies to you (or save a box top or the packaging from a trial lens) and you're good to go.

    Here's a truly useful bit of trivia for those of you who managed to get all the way through this post- On your prescription for contacts or glasses, the words "right eye" and "left eye" are never actually written. Instead the abbreviations O.D. and O.S. are used. O.D. (Oculus Dexter) refers to the right eye, O.S. (Oculus Sinister) refers to the left eye, and, for bonus points, O.U. (Oculus Utro) refers to both eyes. Anyway, I honestly hope that all that helped somebody out.

    3 replies

    Wow! Thanks TheThirdMan!

    Based on your info, I've circled the important info on the attached image of  my prescription: brand, spherical correction and base curve.

    I'm actually trying two base curves right now- apparently I'm just between 8.4 and 8.8, but my optician doesn't stock 8.6- so I'm testing both for better fit.

    Do you have any examples of the more complicated prescriptions?

    Important Label Info.jpg

     You've circled exactly the right info that you'll need.

    As for the Base Curves, most manufacturers only make lenses in two different Base Curves per brand for minus powers and two for plus powers (this is not universally true, but it is true the vast majority of the time). 8.4 & 8.8 is a pretty typical split.

    An example of a more complicated prescription for a disposable lens would look something like this:

    Proclear Multifocal Toric ("Toric" signifies that it is a lens for those with astigmatism)
    OD: -5.50 -2.00 x10 Add +2.00 BC: 8.4 DIA: 14.4
    OS: -4.25 -1.50 x90 Add +2.00 BC: 8.4 DIA: 14.4

    Things get a bit more complicated as you move into Hard Contacts (Gas Permeables, Etc.). On these types of lenses very specific things can be ordered for you, even down to the type of material used. Some of the most complicated examples of these would be a lenticular lens in the case of Aphakia (for someone who has had cataract surgery but could not have an implant), or for someone with a very unusual condition called keratoconus. I would rather not even get into those, as they are something that you should handle directly with your doctor.

    I'm considering posting some information to help people better understand their eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions soon. There is just quite a bit of information to go over and I would like to make sure that I do it in the clearest, most concise way possible. In the meantime, I hope this helped.

     Not a bad idea. I used to lose my prescription details all the time. Normally, your optician, assuming you go to the same one each time, should have your details. Also, (in my opinion) a neater way of doing this would be to write out your numbers on the case using a CD marker.

    1 reply

    Thanks amann.nagi.  I actually prefer this to writing: the label has the brand, ... all of which is good info.