How to read a doctor’s prescription

This article was co-authored by Kara Hartl, MD, FACS. Dr. Kara Hartl is a board certified Ophthalmologist and the Founder and CEO of Mountain View Eye Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Dr. Hartl is a blue light expert and specializes in studying the effects of natural and artificial light on people’s eyes and bodies. She received a BA in Biology from Harvard University and earned her Doctor of Medicine (MD) from The University of California-San Diego Medical School. Dr. Hartl also trained at the world-renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. She is passionate about incorporating technology into the future of eye care and has started a public education initiative to inform everyday LED screen users about the effects and the easy ways to protect themselves while continuing to use their devices. Dr. Hartl also founded the international non-profit, Gift of Sight, which is dedicated to curing blindness across the globe.

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If you wear glasses, it’s useful to be able to read your prescription – especially if you want to order new specs from an online retailer. While your optometrist or eye doctor is required by law to give you a copy of your prescription free of charge, it’s up to you to be able to understand the information on your prescription and use it correctly. Learn to decipher the abbreviations and numbers on your prescription, and find out how to get your pupillary distance even if your vision provider won’t give it to you.