Prescription Guide- How to read your Prescription
When you look at your prescription for eyeglasses, you will see numbers listed under the headings of OS and OD. They are Latin abbreviations: OS (oculus sinister) means the left eye and OD (oculus dextrus) means the right eye. Occasionally, you will see a notation for OU, which means something involving both eyes. In general, the further away from zero the number on your prescription, the worse your eyesight and the more vision correction (stronger prescription) you need. A “plus” (+) sign in front of the number means you are far-sighted, and a “minus” (-) sign means you are near-sighted. These numbers represent dioptres, the unit used to measure the correction, or focusing power, of the lens your eye requires. Diopter is often abbreviated "D."
For people who have astigmatism, there will be three numbers in your prescription. The general form for writing these numbers is S x C x Axis
The “S” refers to the "spherical" portion of the prescription, which is the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness discussed above.
The “C” refers to the "cylinder" or astigmatism, and can be a negative or a positive number. It measures in diopters the degree of astigmatism that you have. The bigger this number, the more astigmatism you have. Astigmatism most often is caused by a cornea that is shaped more like a football than a basketball.
The “Axis” is a number anywhere between 0 and 180 degrees. It reveals the orientation of the astigmatism. It is not enough to specify how much astigmatism there is; you have to know where the difference in curvature is taking place.