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Have You Been Given The “Wrong” Prescription From Your Optometrist?”

You’ve just had your routine annual eye examination, to ensure your eyes are healthy and that your vision hasn’t changed. However, it is common to have your prescription on your glasses adjusted or updated every couple of years. You’ve just placed the order for your brand new pair of glasses. You try it on for the first time, and it doesn’t feel right. You start to wonder; have you been given the “wrong” prescription?

Every time you pick up a new pair of glasses, regardless of how much the change in your prescription is, we all had to “adjust” to the new script. If the glasses don’t feel right the at the first instance, then how does one “adapt” to these new lenses? For more in-depth discussion surrounding the need to adapt to your new prescription here’s a handy article which we’ve written to explain this:

Determining if the prescription is WRONG or INCORRECT

An incorrect prescription doesn’t necessarily mean its wrong. In a nutshell, an utterly wrong prescription is when you’ve picked up somebody else’s prescription. As you can imagine, there’s absolutely no chance of your eyes ever getting used to a wrong prescription. It’s similar to being given the wrong medicine for your ailments which were meant for another patient (you just won’t get better). This rarely occurs, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. With most things done these days electronically, your optometrist might’ve entered your prescription wrong and ordered the wrong pair of lenses (or even picking up another customer’s order with the same name).

If that was the first time you’ve had an eye examination with the particular practice, there’s no prior history of your prescription to go by and verify its validity. Hence in this situation, the error would only be realised upon picking up your glasses. To eliminate this, most optometrists would request your previous prescription (if not an existing patient) or, at least have your current glasses with you so we can estimate what prescription you were given.

An incorrect prescription is much more common and one of the main reasons for patients not being able to use their new glasses. An incorrect prescription is simply, the prescription of your lenses isn’t precise or accurate enough to meet your vision demands. This could also be an error of dispensing a different lens type advised by your dispensing optician, which doesn’t suit your needs.

An example of this is you wanted glasses to help you see better at night whilst driving. The optician ordered a pair of reading glasses for your instead of distance driving glasses. As a result, when you pick up your new glasses, they don’t function as well as you would’ve imagined them to be.

This also includes how your new multifocal glasses are made and cut to fit your frame. Because multifocals have a varying prescription from the top part of the lens compared to the bottom part, it needs to be well aligned to your eyes. If the glasses are sitting too high up, your eyes would be looking through the bottom part of the lens, which causes issues with your distance vision and even just to walk around in.

You would think the primary cause of having an incorrect prescription in your glasses is from the eye test itself. Your optometrist determines your prescription not only from your responses, but also taking into consideration, your previous prescription, the nature of your prescription, and what your visual issues are.

Determining a prescription for a patient not only takes the knowledge of optics but also understanding subjectively the individual responses made from the patient during the eye test. Hence, your prescription from one optometrist may vary slightly from another. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is incorrect. The differences are often minuscule and negligible in a sense that you wouldn’t notice the difference between the two prescriptions from different optometrists; both prescriptions would provide you with a clear vision, but you may prefer one over the other.

Both the experience of the optometrist to determine the nuances in your responses during your eye test and the skill and knowledge of lenses from the dispensing optician is essential to provide you with a pair of glasses to suit you.

The Bottom Line

Our optometrists have practised in a wide variety of settings from rural Australia to independent and corporate optometry practices. Therefore, our optometrists provide industry insights which are often relevant, when picking a pair of lenses tailored to our patient’s individual needs. Although it is not a national requirement, our optical dispensers have undergone extensive training. They are qualified to dispense your glasses accurately, reducing the “adaptation” period and the peace of mind that your eyes and your vision are looked after by qualified individuals who are passionate about their profession.