Cylindrical Lenses

by Ariel Seafish
(Tulsa OK)

Q: Hi everyone,

Two years ago I had my eyes checked and these was the prescription with cylindrical lenses:

OD: (SPH /) (CYL+0.25) (Ax 70)
OS: (SPH +0.5) (CYL+0.5) (Ax 100)

I was not sure if the glasses were only for reading, for distance or for both. Moreover, for some reason the right eye gave me such a pain that I quit wearing them in less than 2 weeks.

Yesterday I visited an eye doctor again and got this prescription:

OD: (SPH +0.75) (CYL 0.5) (Ax 150)
OS: (SPH +1.00) (CYL /) (Ax /)

The doctor said that I should wear them all the time. He said that I have problems reading because I actually have problems with distance vision. Fair enough, I do have some problems reading the street signs especially during the night.

What is unclear to me are the following:

1. Can a person have eyeglasses with "+" for distance?
2. Can someone goes from cylinder (OS: +0.5) to no cylinder (OS) and from Ax 70 (OD) to Ax 150 (OD)?
3. Can the spheres grow in 2 years from none to 0.75?
4. Wearing eyeglasses if you actually do not need them can impair your vision for good?

Thank you.

A: Hello Ariel

What I can tell you from the beginning is that the two prescriptions you have with cylindrical lenses are written in two different ways.

The first is with (+) cylinder and the second with (-) cylinder this is why they look different. If we put them both with (+) cylinder, then the second will look like this:

OD: (sph +0.25) ( cyl +0.50) (ax 60)

So the difference between the first and the second prescription is small.

Now to answer your questions:

1. Yes, you can have (+) for distance view and is called Hyperopia, commonly known as being farsighted.

2. No, presence of cylinder means you have astigmatism, an eye condition that does not disappear, but normally, if the cylinder is not more than 1 diopter (0.25; 0.50), the correction is not mandatory, you will get a correction for it only if improves your vision. I see that first time you had it, but as you said you had a pain in the right eye wearing this glasses, the doctor was thinking that maybe this cylinder is to blame so next time he didn't put it there.

3. Yes, it can grow that much. It depends on how tired you'r eyes are, how much you are reading or working on computers on daily bases and if you wear a hyperopia correction or not. All this factors together can damage your vision over time.

4. If the diopters in these eyeglasses are big and you don't need them, they can do damage. Usually, you feel dizzy, have blurred vision or headaches, so you are not able to wear them anyways. If the diopters are rather small, like in your case, wearing them only get you more tired eyes, no permanent damage.


Comments for Cylindrical Lenses

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Jun 01, 2014
New glasses- dark circles around my eyes
by: Ariel

Thank you very much for your last response.
Since I got my glasses I tried to ware them while driving and for about 1-2 hours per day for reading (books and at the computer). My optometrist said that I should ware them all the time, but I cannot not do it.

Two problems appeared:

(1) My eyes hurt after some time but in different ways. The one with cylinder manifests a more sharp pain and the pain goes relatively slower than the pain in the eye without cylinder.

(2) Wearing glasses makes dark circles around my eyes and the eyes, overall look tired. The dark circles are pretty deep, the eyes globes a little read and the eyelids baggy. I believe I look 20 years older in just a couple of days.

I do not have, however, headaches or a strong sense of dizziness as people usually complain about, when they get a new pair of eyeglasses.

Should I go back to my optometrist and ask for a recheck? Is the prescription too strong?

I never wore eyeglasses before. Last time I got a pair (in 2012) they hurt my eyes badly so I gave up. They were not strong so most of the times I did not need them anyway.

Thank you very much for your help.


Jun 02, 2014
by: Arpi

Well, I can tell you that your first prescription was not that strong than the second one and if you couldn't wear the first more than 2 weeks, I believe you when you say that the second one is strong.

It is stronger, and it could give you headaches and all that, but I have to say that what you are describing is a little too aggressive.

The red eyes and bags are usually symptoms of some kind of conjunctivitis or allergy so I would suggest you visit an ophthalmologist to have a complete consultation and clear this thing out. From my experience, I can tell you that even the frame if is metal can create allergies. And while there, you can check the prescription also.

Aug 11, 2016
by: Mukesh

I am using eyeglasses from past 4 months, and the eyeglasses have both cylindrical and spherical number. Recently I went to the doctor and she prescribed me to change my eyeglasses. She said you don't need cylindrical number.

Now want to ask you that if I use previously used eyeglasses than does it affect my eyes?

Is it harmful to your eyes to wear cylindrical glasses, if there is no need of it?

Aug 24, 2016
Answer Enquiry - Mukesh
by: Arpi

First you must know that if you have astigmatism, this will not simply disappear. If you had cylinder lenses before, you should have them now also.

Sometimes when the cylinder diopter is small ( 0.50 for example), it is not prescribed because most of the time is the same with or without it, but with it, it is sometimes harder to get used to the glasses.

If is a small cylinder, I usually try them on and I prescribe them only if they are helping the vision, so if there is no difference, I don't.

But if a person had cylinder before, I don't change that because the vision will not be the same without. If they took it out, maybe your vision is the same with or without, so wearing the old glasses from time to time will not change anything, and will not harm your eyes, you should see the same way.

But, if you see better with the cylinder, you should ask them to put it back in your prescription.

Hope this helps,

Aug 27, 2016
Cyl prescription
by: Vishnu

My spectacle lens prescription is:

Right eye:
sph: 0
Cyl: -0.5
Axis: 175
Vn: 6/6

Left eye:
Vn: 6/6

my queries are

Do i have to use a spectacles?

and if i use a spectacle now will the error get to normal and will i be able to stop the use of spectacles?

If i don't use a spectacle will the error get bigger?

Sep 06, 2016
Answer - Cyl prescription
by: Arpi

Hello Vishnu,
As I see you have small astigmatism on your right eye. This is not a big deal, being small, and at only one eye, the correction is needed only if this improves your vision.

If it is the same with or without it, then is no needed.
Usually, the astigmatism smaller than 0.75 is corrected only if it's making a difference.

This will not go away if you wear the glasses all the time, but also there is a chance that it won't get bigger also, depends on a lot of factors (computer hours, reading a lot, much TV).

I would say that you don't need glasses because you have 6/6 vision with both eyes. If you work at a computer or you read a lot, I would advise for a consultation every year and if you vision decreases or you have symptoms like headaches, tearing a lot, sand feeling in your eyes, then make the glasses.

Hope this helps,

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