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Over the years since we started L&F, we've been asked the same question over and over:

"Do I need single-vision or progressive glasses?" 

Most times, your eye doctor will have told you which type of glasses you should be wearing for your vision needs. But often, our customers just have their prescription, or script, which has a bunch of odd looking industry terms and confusing numbers that make little sense to most.

Let’s start by demystifying the eyewear industry jargon so you can be sure you’re getting what you need – and what you want – in your next pair of Rx lenses. 

First, we need to dissect the information on your Rx Script, also know as your prescription. Understanding your Rx Script is the guide to help you navigate what type of prescription lenses you may need for your specific vision correction. 

Prescription lenses are custom-made to your specific vision numbers indicated on your Rx script.   

The first three columns of information fall under the headings:

  • SPHERE
  • CYLINDER
  • AXIS

These numbers show the power correction to bring your vision into clear focus for single focal distance – typically these show your power correction for clear vision into the distance. 

PRESCRIPTION FOR SINGLE VISION GLASSES

A single focal distance indicated on your Rx Script means that you need Single Vision lenses.

Below is an example of a prescription for someone who likely needs Single Vision glasses. Note that there is nothing in the ADD column. 

SPHERE

CYLINDER

AXIS

ADD

R

-1.25

-0.75

128

 

L

-1.75

-0.25

164

 

 

Next, let's take a look at what a prescription looks like for progressive glasses.

PRESCRIPTION FOR PROGRESSIVE GLASSES

Look at your prescription and see if there are any numbers in the column titled ADD POWERor, simply, ADD.

Your Add Power is the magnification power you need to help you focus up close for reading.  For example, if you wear reading glasses, your Add Power is the magnification power that you need for your reading glasses. 

If your Rx Script indicates an Add Power, then you are a candidate for multi-focal Rx Progressive lenses.

Progressive lenses, also known as “no-line bifocals”, are lenses with different focal zones that will help you see clearly into the distance AND help you focus up close for reading. 

The name “Progressive” is derived from the unique lens design that progressively adds magnification power toward the bottom part of the lens to help you read more easily.

An engineering revolution in the optical industry (yes, we get excited by this kind of stuff) progressive lenses allowed us to get away from the old “lined bifocal” that your grandparents probably used to wear. Bifocals were basically tiny magnifying glasses glued onto the bottom of your prescription lenses.  

Below is an example of a prescription for someone who needs progressive glasses. 

SPHERE

CYLINDER

AXIS

ADD

R

-1.25

-0.75

128

+2.00 

L

-1.75

-0.25

164

+2.00

 

So let’s summarize …

Consider Rx Single Vision glasses if:

  • You don’t wear reading glasses. 
  • Your Rx Script does not indicate an ADD Power. 
  • You do wear reading glasses, BUT YOU DO NOT want your prescription lenses to have any reading power magnification.  You only want Distance Vision correction.

Consider Rx Progressive glasses if:

  • You wear reading glasses AND YOU WANT multi-focal prescription lenses to help you focus into the distance AND up close for reading.
  • Your Rx Script indicates an ADD Power AND YOU WANT to be able to see clearly into the distance and focus on your phone to read text messages.

We hope that this helps to decode your eyeglasses prescription and figure out whether you need single vision or progressive glasses. Learn more about progressive lenses and how they work.



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