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How Does Your Optometrist Determines Your Prescription?

Have you ever wondered during your eye test with your optometrist, you might have accidentally given a wrong response? Are you then worried that your new glasses will be made up with the incorrect prescription? This week, we will provide you with some insights and techniques to determine your optical prescription and how lenses are made to ensure your glasses will provide the best possible vision achievable.

First Things First

You’ve probably made an appointment to see your optometrist because you’ve noticed a change in your vision. This could be that you are starting to notice things are a bit blurry at night, or you are beginning to feel that your eyes are tired after working on your computer for hours. During your optometry consultation with your optometrist, we will ask you questions regarding your vision and related medical conditions which may affect your vision and eye health. Our vision and eye health are very dynamic and can fluctuate daily. This may not seem important or relevant to you, but it provides a vital clue on how your vision is affected under different conditions. It also gives your optometrist an idea of what type of lenses to correct your vision or help with eye fatigue during computer use.

Our optometrists have seen multiple vision-related issues. Although it may be the first time you’ve experienced such an event, our optometrist at Capital Eye helps individuals like yourselves countless times, and by just talking to you and finding out how you experience these changes in your vision, we narrow down the selection or the choices of lenses to best your needs and lifestyle.

1 or 2?

If you regularly visit your optometrist, you will undoubtedly be asked which lens is clearer; one or two? You’ll be asked to pick a selection of lenses and determine which is clearer or which makes the letters darker or bolder. This is very subjective. A different person answering the same question may respond differently or interpret what “clearer” actually is. This is tricky as a patient who hasn’t done this in the past would have problems picking the clearest lens and may be anxious that they are not answering the question correctly.

Obviously, we can’t see what you see during the test. If you think that there is another way your optometrist can determine your script with another method without your responses, you’ll be correct. In fact, it is likely your optometrist already has some idea of your script before going through the lens selection and being asked which is clearer; one or 2?

You might recall that before you saw the optometrist, you sat in front of a machine which you look through to see a tiny hot air balloon, a farmhouse, or something similar. Then the hot air balloon image becomes clearer as the machine makes its adjustment. The machine determines roughly what your prescription is before you see the optometrist. It streamlines the process of determining your prescription. So if that’s the case, why do we still ask you which lens is clearer?

Your Old Glasses

Simply by using the results gathered from the machine and putting them into your new prescription lenses would result in most cases, your vision being overcorrected or not strong enough. If we made glasses solely on this prescription alone, your new glasses might not be comfortable. There is no point in having your glasses made so clear in a sense that it gives you headaches or difficulty adjusting to them when you wear them.

This mild, often negligible on paper, adjustment to your prescription could make all the difference from a pair of glasses that can be worn all the time from a pair of glasses you can’t tolerate. This is where your optometrist asks you which lens is clearer, more comfortable, more distinct so they can make these minute adjustments to ensure your pair of glasses not only provides you with the clearest vision but also the most comfortable.

Your old pair of glasses provides vital clues on how the above “balancing” process is made. And if the current glasses are not “strong” enough, we can use it to determine how much of a difference in the prescription and whether you can tolerate the magnitude of change. By not bringing in your old pair of glasses can potentially make your brain “readapt” or “readjust” a lot more with your new glasses.

The Bottom Line

When being asked which lens is clearer, a good tip is don’t put too much thought into it. Sometimes it is evident, which is a good thing, other times, it can be challenging to determine the difference between the options. This is often a good indication to your optometrist that we are reaching the near point in titrating your prescription (in which case, either option would be correct). Don’t worry about making any “incorrect” choices, as everything is cross-checked and double-checked for consistency. Remember, your optometrist is trained for these situations. Let your optometrist know if there is anything they can do to make the process easier. Let them know if you need a break in between. We all want you to walk out of our practice with the correct prescription!