If you’ve gotten prescription glasses before, you’re probably familiar with decimal numbers on your prescription. But what happens if you see an acronym like “PL” in a box?
Understanding “PL” on a Glasses Prescription
“PL” on a glasses prescription stands for “plano,” meaning that no spherical correction is needed for that particular eye.
Essentially, “PL” signifies that the eye has no refractive error, and the prescription is zero.
There are several reasons why a prescription might include “PL” instead of a specific number:
- Reading glasses: If someone needs glasses only for reading, their prescription may be “PL” for one eye and a specific correction for the other.
- Minor refractive error: Some people may have such a minor refractive error that it’s unnecessary to correct it with a lens, so “PL” is used instead.
- Post-surgery: “PL” can also be used when a patient has undergone vision-correcting surgery, such as LASIK or PRK. In these cases, the surgery has corrected the refractive error, and the prescription includes “PL” to indicate that no further correction is required.
Interpreting a Prescription with “PL”
If your glasses prescription includes “PL,” it means that the spherical correction for that eye is zero.
However, your prescription may still include cylinder and axis values, indicating the presence of astigmatism.
Here’s how to interpret the different values:
- Sphere: If one or both eyes have a “PL” value for the sphere, it means that no correction is needed for that particular eye. A number present for the sphere value indicates the strength of the spherical correction needed for that eye (positive numbers indicate farsightedness, while negative numbers indicate nearsightedness).
- Cylinder: The cylinder value indicates the strength of the astigmatism correction needed for that eye. A value of zero means no astigmatism correction is needed, while a positive or negative value indicates the strength of the astigmatism correction required.
- Axis: The axis value indicates the orientation of the astigmatism correction needed for that eye. The value is a number between 0 and 180, with 0 indicating horizontal correction and 90 indicating vertical correction.