How Do You Know If Your Eyeglass Prescription Is Too Strong?


After obtaining a new prescription for eyeglasses, you may be excited about all of the new possibilities from being able to see clearly. This can include everything from being able to do a better job at work to enjoying your hobbies or family time outside of work. To put it another way, getting a new eye prescription can literally open your eyes to a whole new world. All of this is well and good. However, if you are receiving an eyeglass prescription for the very first time, wearing your new pair of glasses may initially feel slightly weird. You may think that your eyeglass prescription is off. Ultimately, you may have a strange sense that your eyeglass prescription is too strong.

To state the obvious, you may be correct or incorrect about this idea. But instead of waiting to visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist, you may want to find an answer more quickly. This is especially true if you have a busy schedule, yet need more context right away. For this reason, we decided to write this article.

Yes, you will likely need to check-in with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to be 100 percent sure. This article in no way is providing any medical advice. But having said this, there are several things that you can do today to determine whether your eyeglass prescription is too strong. Doing so will provide more clarity on whether there is truly an issue or whether you are just imagining things.

Some Basics on Eye Prescriptions

Before describing some of the basic tests, however, it is helpful to first understand some basics about eye prescriptions as a whole.

When you visited your optometrist or ophthalmologist, he or she likely examined your eyes and ran some tests. Along with this, however, he or she also gave you a subjective test, where you answered a series of questions on your sight throughout certain points of the day. This combination of both a physical exam and subjective diagnosis leads to your eye doctor providing you with a prescription.

Your eye prescription itself, as you likely know, is summarized in a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. All of these characters represent different characteristics of your prescription. For instance, “SPH” stands for sphere, which indicates the amount of lens power in your prescription. If you see a minus sign under this heading, it means that you are nearsighted. A positive sign, as you can guess, means that you are farsighted. The abbreviation of “CYL,” for instance, stands for cylinder and tells you the amount of lens power for astigmatism. If you don’t see anything in this column, this means that you do not have astigmatism that needs correction.

While we can keep going down the list, the bottom line is that your prescription has a wealth of information about your eyes and how prescription eyeglasses can help you see more clearly. The fact that it has so much information, along with the fact that getting your eye exam while fatigued can lead to an incorrect judgment, means that this entire process is ripe for error. Your suspicions about having an eyeglass prescription that is too strong may actually be accurate.


How to Read your Eye Prescription

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Some Quick Tests for Strong Eyeglass Prescription

From here, however, let’s get to some of the quick tests that can give you a better sense of whether your eyeglass prescription is too strong. While these tests are not dispositive in and of themselves, they can provide you with more evidence as you schedule another appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

One of the best ways you can tell whether your eyeglass prescription is too strong is to undergo a “one eye test.” It’s really simple and you can do this wherever you’d like. All you need to do is put on your glasses and cover one of your eyes (the precise eye does not matter). With your unobstructed eye, stare straight ahead. When doing this, take note of your vision. Does it appear clear? Or is it blurred or hazy? From there, do this same exercise with your other eye. If one or both of your eyes are blurry or hazy, you may have a strong argument that your eyeglass prescription is too strong.

The next few tests are focused on any potential symptoms that you experience when wearing your glasses. To start, gauge whether you are feeling any dizziness or nausea when you are wearing your glasses. This can be a classic sign that your prescription level is too strong.

Granted, you want to make sure that these symptoms are due to your glasses and not anything else. Because dizziness and nausea are common symptoms of many ailments or illnesses, you want to zero in on the cause of these symptoms. For instance, you can keep a symptom journal and note whenever you are feeling dizziness or nausea. This way you can narrow down the potential culprits. If you discover that the only constant is that you are wearing your eyeglasses, you probably have glasses with the wrong prescription.

Another symptom that you will want to monitor involves headaches. Simply put, you should not be having headaches when wearing your glasses. If you are experiencing headaches, it may be due to significant eye strain. Therefore, as with monitoring your dizziness and nausea, note when you are experiencing headaches. Once again, if you notice that the only long-lasting variable is that you get headaches when wearing your glasses, your glasses may be at fault.

Finally, when testing whether you have too strong of a prescription, we want you to analyze how long you have been wearing your glasses. The simple fact is that regardless of your prescription strength, it takes several weeks to adjust to a new pair of glasses. This is especially relevant if you have trifocals or bifocals. Because of this, you don’t want to jump the gun and immediately suspect that you have too strong of an eye prescription. Rather, take your time. Be patient and give yourself several weeks. If you have waited several weeks and are still experiencing discomfort or other symptoms, you may want to recheck your prescription.


Getting and Staying Comfortable

It can be extremely annoying, even painful, to wear glasses with the wrong prescription. Not only will you find it difficult to see people and things around you, but you may experience other symptoms—like headaches, nausea, or dizziness—which can make your day more difficult. This certainly is not ideal, so you will want to do some further investigating to see if your prescription is too strong.

Ultimately, all of these quick tests described above can help you gain more confidence in whether your prescription is too powerful. In isolation, these tests are helpful. In combination, they can be very effective. Nevertheless, we encourage you to visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist for a definitive opinion. If you need an updated prescription, they will also be able to help.

At Rx-Safety, we want to ensure that you are purchasing eyewear that can help you see as clearly as possible. If you want to learn more about this topic or review any of our eyewear collections, don’t hesitate to visit our website. You can also reach out directly by clicking here.

  1. Dale says:

    On one occasion I had an improper prescription given at an exam, that was my bad.
    I did not get a lot of sleep the evening before, and the exam was later in the day. When I got up I began reading a book, because I had been having distance blur after reading, and I thought that heavy reading would have my eyes in the blurred condition, so as I would get the correct prescription for that condition. I had the blurred vision driving to the appointment, and arrived early, so I sat in the car, and continued to read. When the doctor asked about the complaint, I told him about the blurred vision, but not about the heavy reading that I had just done. When the exam was over he wrote out a new prescription, which I had filled there. When I picked up the new glasses a few days later, they were incredibly strong, but I took them home. I tried to wear them as much as I could, and even tried heavy reading, but just could not tolerate them, Turned out that they were -2.25 stronger than what I had been wearing, and with a proper re exam I needed -1.00 stronger.

  2. Anoop says:

    Good test for strong eyeglass prescription

  3. DAle says:

    Most people will never forget the first time they put their glasses on. A combination of, oh my eyes are so bad, and wow are these so strong. I, as most myopic people love getting new stronger glasses. I always ask the optometrist to give me the strongest lenses possible. First off they are thrilling to wear, and secondly, they seem to give good vision longer between exams.

  4. Rachel L says:

    Can too strong of glasses cause my eyes to be extremely dry?

    • SanMartin says:

      Hi Rachel,

      The power of the classes rarely causes eyed dryness. You should get checked first by an eye doctor to confirm the cause of your condition.

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