The Complete Guide To Buying Prescription Lenses Online

Finding your prescription can be a hassle. You have to go to the doctor and do all of the eye tests, just to wait weeks for your prescription glasses to come in. Well, did you know you can skip the hassle of ordering your lenses at the doctor’s office and do everything from home? To find out everything you need to know about how to order your prescription lenses online, just keep reading. 

Understanding You Prescription

Before ordering your prescription, you first need to understand your prescription and what factors affect it. These may include prescription types, prescription parts, and most importantly, what your personal prescription is. 

Prescription Types

There are two main types of prescriptions, single vision and progressive. This is important to understand when deciding on your prescription lenses, as they are two very different types of prescriptions.

Single Vision

Single vision prescriptions are most common among those who need vision correction. This type of prescription focuses on one kind of vision correction such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatisms. The entire lens focuses on one kind of vision correction.


Progressive prescriptions call for a multifocal lens that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatisms all at the same time. Progressive lenses offer a seamless transition of distance correction on the top to reading correction on the bottom to provide a sharper vision experience overall. 


diagram showing the difference in progressive vs single vision lenses

Progressive lenses offer a seamless transition between vision areas.

How to Read Your Prescription

Once you receive your prescription, it can be really hard to understand what it means. There’s a bunch of abbreviations and numbers that don’t really make sense to someone who is not a doctor. We’re going to break down the parts of your prescription and what they mean below.


eyewear prescription
Knowing the different parts of the prescription can be really helpful when ordering your lenses online.

OD vs. OS

Doctors use the abbreviations OD and OS as abbreviations to note the difference between your right and left eye. OD is your right eye and is short for the latin phrase, “oculus dexter”, meaning right eye. OS is your left eye and is short for the latin phrase, “oculus sinister”, meaning left eye. 

Your prescription may have a space that says “OU”, which stands for “oculus uterque” meaning both eyes. 

Some doctors have simplified this system by simply using RE (right eye) and LE (left eye) in place of OD and OS. 

Sphere (SPH)

Sphere indicates the lens power needed to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. If the number under the sphere heading is a minus sign (-), then you are nearsighted. If the number under the sphere heading is a plus sign (+), then you are farsighted. 

Cylinder (CYL)

Cylinder indicates the lens power needed to correct your astigmatism. The number in the cylinder column may have a minus sign, which is to correct nearsighted astigmatism, or a plus sign, which is to correct farsighted astigmatism. 

If nothing is shown in the cylinder column, it means you do not have astigmatism or your degree of astigmatism is so small that it does not need to be corrected. 


Axis is the number anywhere from 0 to 180 degrees that specifies the orientation of astigmatism. It goes hand in hand with the cylinder number.


Add is the added magnifying power on the lower part of multifocal lens to correct the farsightedness that occurs with aging. Generally it will range from .75 to 3.00 and is typically the same for both eyes. 


Prism is the prismatic power needed to correct eye alignment. Prism is only used on a small percentage of eyeglass lenses.

How to Find/Measure Pupillary Distance

Pupillary distance is another measurement you may find on your prescription, however it is not always given. PD is very important when finding your prescription online, so knowing how to find and measure it is vital.

What is Pupillary Distance?

Pupillary distance measures the distance between your pupils. This measurement is important because it determines where you will be looking through the lens of your glasses. A doctor can measure your PD for you, but if it is not given to you, use the steps below to find it yourself. 

How to Find Pupillary Distance

  1. Stand about 8” away from a well-lit mirror
  2. Grab a ruler and hold it at the bridge of your nose
  3. Line up the zero end of the ruler with your right pupil
  4. Measure the distance from your right pupil to your left pupil
  5. The number that lines up with your left pupil is your PD
graphic measuring pupillary distance
Your pupillary distance is the distance between both of your pupils.

Segment Height

Segment height, abbreviated as SH, is the vertical measurement from the bottom of your lens to the beginning of the progressive addition on a progressive lens. SH does not apply to single vision lenses. 

How to Measure SH

  1. Put your glasses on your face and adjust them to fit comfortably. 
  2. Stand 8 inches from a well-lit mirror
  3. Grab a ruler and align the zero end with the lowest point at the bottom of your left lens, keeping the ruler completely vertical (Make sure you are measuring from the bottom of the lens, not the bottom of the frame)
  4. Stare straight ahead and get the measurement that is in line with the center of your pupil. This is your SH.
graphic showing how to measure segment height
Your segment height is the distance from the bottom of your lens to the center of your pupil.

Choosing Your Lenses

Once you have all the information you need about your prescription, you will move on to choosing the lenses you want. This will include choosing the material, the coatings, and even the color of your lenses!

Lens Materials

When it comes to what your lenses are made of, there are many options. To decide what you want, you must weigh the pros and cons of each material.


CR-39 is one of the most basic lens materials out there, and also one of the most commonly used. It has no added features, making it one of the most affordable materials you can have your lenses made of. 

While being inexpensive is a plus, it is the thickest and heaviest lens material, making it easier to crack or shatter. You should not use this material with rimless, semi-rimless, or drill mount frames. 


Polycarbonate lenses are thin, lightweight, and one of the most impact resistant materials you can get. Additionally, they are versatile when it comes to adding features such as transitions, polarization, or anything else you can think of. 

Polycarbonate is considered the industry standard and is affordable and inherently UV-protected.


Trivex lenses are very similar to polycarbonate as they are also thin, lightweight and very impact resistant. The main difference is that the way Trivex lenses are made allow them to have crisper optics than injection-molded polycarbonate.


High-index lenses are another lens option when it comes to prescription. They are flexible, comfortable and easy to make with single vision or progessive. Due to their thin and flexible nature, they fit into a wide variety of frames and do not weigh them down. This makes it less likely that your frames will fall down your face and lessen the need for readjustment.

The few downsides of high-index is that it is much more expensive than its counterparts and due to its thinness, it is much less impact resistant and more prone to scratches and scrapes.

Lens Coatings

The coatings on your lens can make a big difference in vision quality and lens care. Some of the most common ones include anti-reflective and hydro-oleophobic. At Fuse, we offer a lens coating that combines these two. For a $50 upgrade, your lenses can be anti-reflective and hydro-oleophobic. 


Anti-reflective coating, also known as AR coating, is useful as it improves vision, reduces eye strain, and overall makes your lenses look better. AR coating eliminates reflections from the front and back of the lens, making it much easier to see. 

Eliminating the reflections helps improve visual acuity by allowing more light into your eye for better vision overall.


Hydro-oleophobic coatings are very useful in helping from creating damage to your lenses. The oleophobic part prevents things like dirt, dust, oil, and other particles from settling on your lenses and creating damage or smudges. The hydrophobic part prevents water from bonding with the surface of the lens. 

The use of a hydro-oleophobic coating prevents your lenses from getting damaged quickly and also makes them easier to clean. 

Lens Colors

The color of your lenses are very important as each color can offer different benefits to your eyes. 


Clear lenses can come in the form of regular single vision/progressive lenses or blue light lenses. Single vision and progressive lenses are the most common types of prescription lenses and were discussed previously. However, you can also have blue light blocking materials in your lenses. 

Blue light lenses are a type of lens that can block out harmful blue light that is produced by electronics such as phones, tablets, or TVs. Using blue light lenses helps prevent digital eye strain, headaches, and trouble sleeping. Blue light can be a coating on the lenses or made with the technology already in the lenses.

blue light lenses sitting on a table
When choosing clear lenses, choosing blue light lenses can help lessen the effects of digital eyestrain.


Transition lenses, also known as photochromic lenses, are a type of lens that “transition” from light to dark in sunlight and vice versa when indoors. Transition lenses are a great tool because they are cost effective, convenient, and they protect your eyes. They are cost effective and convenient because it combines the need of having a pair of prescription lenses and prescription sunglasses lenses into one pair. You no longer have to carry around two pairs of glasses. 


When it comes to prescription sunglasses you have the option to choose from tinted, mirrored, and polarized lenses. While tinted lenses offer a bit of glare protection, mirrored lenses are going to be better at reducing glare. Certain tints can help with reducing eye strain when outside, such as an amber-based lens.

Mirrored lenses help with reducing glare and also come in a wide variety of colors for you to choose from. 

Another option you have is polarized lenses. Polarized lenses offer a lot of protection for your eyes when outdoors, such as blocking glare, increasing color contrast, reducing eye strain, and giving you the ability to see into water. Polarization can be added to any of our prescription sunglasses lens colors for an additional $10.

woman posing with green mirror lenses
When choosing sunglasses, you can decide between Fuse's 20+ color options.

Fuse Lenses

Fuse Lenses is your partner in all things eyewear. Whether it’s lenses, frames, or Rx, we’re here to help. To find out how to order new prescription lenses from Fuse Lenses, continue on down below.

How to Order New Rx Lenses from Fuse Lenses

The process is made simple for you when you come to Fuse. We offer a quick prescription form to fill out with all of your preferences when it comes to your new lenses. 

The only thing you need to have ready when filling out the form is your pupillary distance. If you don’t have it, use our previous steps to find out what yours is. 

You will find the following steps on our prescription form:

  1. Choose your Color
    You can choose between clear, blue light, transition, or one of our 20+ sunglasses colors, and even add polarization!
  2. Decide on a Coating
    We offer a standard hard coating or a combined hydro-oleophobic anti-reflective coating for superior vision and durability. 
  3. Choose your Type
    Fuse offers Single vision or progressive.
  4. Pick out a Material
    You can choose to go with our standard Polycarbonate or upgrade to Trivex or High-Index 1.67.
  5. Enter your PD and SH
    The next step will be to enter your pupillary distance. At this point, you will also enter your segment height if purchasing progressive lenses.
  6. Tell us about your Frames
    In this step, just tell us a little about your frames, the color, brand, or style works perfectly.
  7. Review and Submit
    Once you submit your order, you will receive an email requesting your prescription and a box will be sent out in the mail. 


When it comes to figuring out all the things that come along with an eyewear prescription, it can get tricky, but we hope these tips make it a little easier. You no longer have to be confused when it comes to your prescription because you now know what all parts of the prescription mean, what you should be looking for when it comes to your lenses, and where to purchase the best prescription lenses on the market. 

If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team at eyecontact@fuselenses.com . They are always here to help!

Fuse Lenses is here to assist you in all of your eyewear needs, whether you are needing new lenses or just have an eyewear question. It is our mission to create eyewear that promotes an active lifestyle and to become your trusted ally in all of your everyday adventures. 

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