How to Read Your Eyeglass Prescription

When you look at your eyeglass prescription, you will see a selection of numbers that probably make absolutely no sense. Here is the key to understanding the prescription for your eyeglasses.

What do OD and OS mean? On your eyeglass prescription, there are numbers listed below “OD” and “OS” headings:

  • O.D. is an abbreviation for oculus dexter, which refers to the right eye.
  • O.S. is an abbreviation for oculus sinister, which refers to the left eye.

O.U. and diopters— Sometimes there is also an O.U. (oculus uterque), which refers to both eyes. The further away from zero the number is, the more correction your vision requires. A plus (+) sign means that you are farsighted, and a negative (-) sign means that you are nearsighted. The numbers indicate how much correction your eyes require, measured in diopters (D).

Other terms, defined— There are a lot of other unexplained abbreviations on your prescription.

  • SPH (Sphere) reveals the prescription power of the eyeglasses, or how strong the lenses must be in order to correct your vision.
  • S (Spherical) refers to the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness in your vision.
  • CYL (Cylinder) is either a negative or a positive number that refers to the condition of astigmatism, where the cornea of your eye has an irregular shape which results in blurred or distorted vision. The larger the number, the more severe the astigmatism.
  • AXIS, which is a number between 0 and 180 degrees, indicates the degree and the direction of the astigmatism.

Remember, an eyeglass prescription is not the same as a contact lens prescription. The numbers are not the same, and they do not function the same way. In order to obtain a contact lens prescription, you must have a contact lens consultation and fitting.

Don’t let the prescription for your eyeglasses be a mystery! Talk to your eye doctor about all the numbers you don’t understand. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

Eyeglass Lens Materials – Features and Benefits


Lenses can make a big difference in how happy you are with your eyeglasses, but choosing the right lens material can be a difficult process of balancing style, weight, and cost without sacrificing practicality and comfort. Here is everything that you need to know about the features and benefits of different lens materials.

Standard plastic lenses— Standard plastic lenses are well known for their comfort and durability. They are a popular choice for eyeglasses because they are affordable and safe. A scratch-resistant coating is easy to apply.

Mid-Index plastic lenses— Mid-index plastic lenses are slimmer than standard plastic, which means that for stronger prescriptions that typically require thicker (and more expensive) lenses, they can remain thinner (and less expensive).

High-index plastic lenses— High-index plastic lenses are perfect for stronger prescriptions because they are the thinnest and lightest of all of the plastic materials. However, they are also more expensive than standard and mid-index plastic lenses.

Polycarbonate lenses— Polycarbonate lenses are more durable than other plastic materials and don’t need to be very thick for most prescriptions. Polycarbonate is the perfect material for children’s eyeglasses, because they are almost completely unbreakable.

High-definition (HD) lenses — High-definition lenses are customized for each prescription using digital technology. The resulting glasses are usually superior to other materials because the lenses offer a better field of vision and highly individualized vision correction.

Composite lenses— Composite lenses are made of polycarbonate, Trivex, and other materials. The material is durable, blocks out UVA and UVB rays from the sun, and is virtually weightless. If you wear glasses 24/7, these might be for you.

When it comes to materials for eyeglasses, you’ve got lots of options! Talk to your optometrist about the best lenses for your lifestyle. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

How to Help Your Child Adjust to New Glasses

Getting glasses as a child is often a tricky transition. Correcting children’s vision typically involves some dissent or obstinance on the part of the child, but a few adjustments will make all the difference!

Choose and adjust the glasses for optimal fit-Making sure that your child is comfortable with his or her new pair childrens-visionof glasses is critical. Encourage your child to be a part of the selection process to ensure that they choose a style of glasses that they truly like– they will therefore be more enthusiastic to wear them. Fit is even more important than style, and the optometrist’s staff should be able to guarantee that new glasses are perfectly fitted to the child’s face.

Ensure that the child wears the glasses consistently-Sometimes the most difficult part of getting used to new glasses is simply remembering to put them on in the morning. Help your child to integrate glasses into daily routine by verbalizing reminders or directly handing the glasses to the child as necessary until putting on glasses become second nature.

Clean the lenses regularly-Dirty lenses rarely serve as positive aids to children’s vision. Dirt and dust that obscures sight will only make it harder for the child to get used to the new glasses. Regularly clean the lenses with lens cleaner and a scratch-free cloth before the child puts them on in the morning. Eventually, show the child how to clean the glasses without you and encourage them to clean the lenses regularly in order to support independence and responsibility.

Make glasses a positive experience- Getting and wearing glasses should be viewed as a fun experience, rather than a chore. Reward your child after appointments with something that they find enjoyable in order to help them see the process as celebratory. Try showing the child picture books, movie characters, or favored celebrities with glasses to instill the notion that glasses are fashionable and that the child is not alone. Make sure that you continually encourage the belief that glasses are actually fun and cool!

The happiness of children is just as important as children’s vision correction! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.


How to Properly Care for Your Eyeglasses

eyeglass-careWhether you’re new to wearing glasses or have been wearing them for years, it is important to make sure that you are following the proper eyeglass care procedures. Learn the do’s and don’ts of caring for your glasses.

Eyeglass Care Tips

Eyeglass Care Do’s:

  • Protect your glasses by storing them in a case
  • Use both hands to take off your glasses so that the frames do not get misaligned
  • Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth when cleaning
  • Take your glasses off if you plan to take a nap
  • Take your glasses off when you use hair spray or perfume
  • Wash your hands before touching your lenses
  • Come into our offices at Valley Eyecare Center for regular eye exams to make sure that your prescription is updated
  • Use special eyeglass cleaner

Eyeglass Care Don’ts:

  • Use a paper towel, tissue, cloth, or article of clothing to dry your lenses or wipe dust off of them. This will scratch your lenses
  • Use ammonia or window cleaner to wash your lenses
  • Set your glasses down on their lenses
  • Wear your glasses if you are swimming
  • Buff your scratches out of your glasses by yourself – an expert can help!
  • Spit on your lenses, as this can damage the coating on your lenses
  • Leave your glasses in a hot car or around a hot surface
  • Put your glasses in a purse or bag without a case protecting the glasses

Eyeglass care is an important way to make sure that your vision and health are in their optimal condition. To learn more about taking care of your eyeglasses, or to schedule an appointment at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

What is Vision Correction?

eye-careIf you have a visual impairment, you may be considering any of the following eye care options: eyeglasses, contact lenses, or Lasik eye surgery. Each of these options is quite different, and knowing which one is right for you is crucial.

Which Eye Care Solution Is Best for You?

Eyeglasses—Perhaps the most obvious way to see more clearly is to get glasses. Most people can easily wear glasses, and they correct your vision easily. They are often less expensive than contact lenses since contacts need to be replaced every day, and glasses are also less expensive than Lasik eye surgery. Glasses can also protect your eyes from potential injuries. However, glasses can be broken or lost if you take them off, and they may be uncomfortable or inconvenient in some cases.

Contact lenses—Like eyeglasses, contact lenses are a great eye care option to correct your vision, and there are many pros and cons of wearing contacts. Many contact lens wearers love that the lenses conform to the eye, providing you with infinite vision that may not be as attainable with glasses. Contacts can also make you look as if you don’t have a visual impairment, as they are less obvious than glasses. Contacts also do not fog up and are not affected by weather conditions, unlike glasses. However, some people may find that it is difficult to put contacts into their eyes, and contact lenses may also dry out your eye if you wear them too long.

Lasik eye surgery—The last eye care option is Lasik eye surgery, which involves a laser eye surgery to correct your vision. Results are immediate and long-lasting, and you do not have to worry about glasses or contact lenses. Your vision will be greatly improved, as recipients of the surgery regain 20/20 vision. However, this option can often be expensive, and you must remain awake during the surgery so that your eyes can be open for the laser.

Your eye care is important! Find out which vision corrector is right for you by coming in for an eye exam with one of our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center. Call (602) 955-2700 or visit our website to learn more information.

Reading Your Eyeglass Prescription

optometristIf you’ve just had an eye exam with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, you may notice that your prescription has quite a few notations, abbreviations, and numbers that you may not understand. Of course, being nearsighted or farsighted is fairly straightforward, but the other notations may not be so obvious. Learn to decipher all the parts of your prescription so that you can be knowledgeable about the state of your eyes.

Understanding Your Prescription by an Optometrist

What is OD? What is OS? These abbreviations are the first step in understanding your eyeglass prescription. OD is short for the Latin phrase, oculus dexter, and OS is short for oculus sinister. These are the terms for the right and left eye, respectively. If you see anything labeled OU, that is short for oculus uterque, which refers to both eyes. In rare instances you may see RE (right eye) or LE (left eye).

How can I tell if I’m near or farsighted? If you see SPH, this indicates the word “sphere,” which signifies the amount of lens power prescribed to correct your nearsightedness or farsightedness. A negative sign indicates that you are nearsighted, and a positive sign means that you are farsighted.

What about astigmatism? If your prescription includes CYL, which stands for “cylinder,” it is referring to the amount of lens power needed to correct your astigmatism. This condition is a result of the cornea and/or lens being shaped more oblong, rather than round. A number next to CYL may also give you an idea about whether you are near or farsighted.

Is there anything else I should know about? Your optometrist may write specific lens recommendations on your eyeglass prescription, especially if you need progressive lenses or an anti-reflective coating. These recommendations will allow for comfort.

Keep in mind that an eyeglass prescription is different from a contact lens prescription and  cannot be used interchangeably. To learn more about reading your prescription or to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700 or visit our website.


How to Keep Your Glasses in Good Shape

sunglassesAt Valley Eyecare Center, we know that you invest a lot of time in finding the right pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses. Once you’ve found the perfect pair, it is important to keep these glasses in tiptop shape. Below, we’ve listed a few of our best secrets when it comes to making sure that your glasses and sunglasses are in their best condition!

Maintaining Eyeglasses and Sunglasses

Don’t forget to clean your glasses and sunglasses—You should wash your glasses at least once a day. Although one of your first instincts may be to reach for the bottom of your shirt to clean your glasses, this is one of the worst things you can do to your glasses. Paper towels, tissues, napkins, or shirts can easily scratch the lenses of your eyeglasses or sunglasses. Instead, make sure to rinse off your glasses with water before wiping or cleaning them. Even the tiniest particles of dirt can settle on your lenses, so wiping dry lenses can be abrasive to your lenses.

Use the proper sprays—If you use a chemical to clean your glasses, make sure to use one that is specifically made to clean eyeglass lenses. Do not use household cleaners like Windex, as these chemicals can damage or ruin your glasses or sunglasses.

Handle properly—Store your glasses when you’re not wearing them so that they do not get damaged or dirty. When you go to pick them up, make sure to be careful and grip the piece that comes across the bridge of the nose so that you do not end up bending the frames, and the lenses will still be clean.

Keeping your glasses and sunglasses in good shape is important so that you can keep your glasses for years on end! To learn more about eyeglass maintenance, or to schedule an eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Our Eyeglass Guide

eyeglassesAre you having trouble seeing for the first time, or do you feel as if your prescription has changed since the last time you’ve had an eye exam? If you wear eyeglasses or think you may need to start wearing them, our eyeglass guide can help you determine what kind of glasses would suit you most!

Eyeglasses for Every Lifestyle

At Valley Eyecare Center, we have eyeglasses for every occasion, every fashion style, and every lifestyle. Our quiz will help you determine which eyeglasses are perfect for you!

Lifestyle questions—The eyeglass guide will ask you a few questions about your lifestyle—whether you’ve had eyeglasses in the past or whether you’re wearing them for the first time. These questions also include whether or not you need glasses for reading, driving, or watching TV.

Lens questions—Do you need bifocals? Do you use your glasses inside and outside? Do you typically wear prescription sunglasses, regular sunglasses, or do you not wear sunglasses at all? Do you work in front of a computer, or do you work in an industrial environment where you would need more protection in your lenses? All of these questions are important to answer in order to determine which kind of lenses your eyeglasses will need.

Other questions—The eyeglass guide will also ask you a series of questions about whether certain things bother you, such as the glare from the sun or from headlights or the computer screen. If any of those items give you a headache or causes changes in your vision, your eyeglasses can be customized to make sure that your headaches are minimized and you sight is restored.

Find the perfect eyeglasses for you! To learn more about our eyeglass guide, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Glasses or Contact Lenses—Which is Right for You?

contact-lensesContact lenses and glasses both correct vision and allow you to see properly. While both glasses and contacts are great options to correct your vision, the decision on which one you use is typically a personal preference. Our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center can help you to decide whether you are a glasses or contacts person.

Contact Lenses and Glasses Allow You to See Properly

Glasses require little maintenance—Glasses are very easy to care for. Unlike contact lenses, you do not need to touch your eyes in order to wear them, which can decrease your risk for developing certain eye infections. Glasses are also easier to clean and do not need to be replaced as often as contact lenses.

Glasses are a fashion statement—Whether you have one pair or multiple to go with your outfits, glasses are truly an extension of your personality.

Contact lenses allow you to see without obstructions—If you want to see properly, as if you aren’t wearing glasses, contact lenses may be just the thing for you. Just be sure to care for them, as they do touch your eyes every day. If you’re concerned about putting contact lenses into your eyes, make sure to look into the mirror so that you can focus on the image in front of you, and use your other hand to steady your face so that you do not poke yourself.

Contact lenses may change the color of your eyes—While glasses may be a great fashion statement, certain contact lenses are designed to make your eyes different colors. Make your eyes pop with colorful lenses.

As with any big decision, it is important to consider the different advantages and disadvantages of both contact lenses and glasses. To learn more information about the differences between these two vision correctors, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Eye Safety in the Workplace

This month is Workplace Eye Safety Month! No matter where you work, it is important to keep your eyes safe in the workplace. Learn a few tips on how to keep your vision in its best condition.

Workplace Eye Safety

Eye_SafetyProtect your eyes—If you work in an environment that uses chemicals or oils, it is important to wear eye protection, such as goggles. Working in construction and manufacturing may also require the use of eye protection, as you want to make sure that your eyes are safe as you work.

Wear computer glasses—If you work at a computer for the majority of the day, it is important to save your eyes from eye strain. Maintain your eye safety by investing in computer glasses, which will block some of the blue light from the computer screen. Also, make sure to abide by the 20-20-20 rule—for every 20 minutes you work on the computer, focus on something that is 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to refocus your vision. This rule applies to phones and televisions, too! Do not spend too much of your day focusing on a screen.

Know your risks—Certain work environments are more dangerous to the eyes than others. Some jobs may require the use of safety eyewear, goggles, or special-use safety glasses. If you work in an environment that is more strenuous on your eyes, it is important to maintain and perhaps even increase your eye safety.

Workplace eye safety is important to your health, as well as your success in your career. Be sure to make your vision a priority no matter where you work so that your can maintain your eye health. To learn more about workplace eye safety, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.