Ophthalmology & Optometry/Acceptable axis tolerance


I received a new pair of glasses a few weeks ago and have been experiencing eye pain in my right eye. My optician checked the lenses and noted that the prescription was "correct". However, the print out for the lenses indicated that the axis in my right lens was 9 degrees, while the prescription called for 3 degrees. I'm wondering if this could be the cause of my eye pain, and I'm wondering what is considered within tolerance and acceptable for axis corrections, e.g. +/- how many degrees.  The only other change in the right lens from previous prescription is an additional .25 diopter sphere (from -1.25 to -1.50) and an increase in the add power from 1.75 to 2.25

Current prescription:  OD -1.50 -2.00  3
         OS -1.50 -1.50  1  
         add 2.25

Thanks for your help!

Hi Nancy,
The axis difference of 6 degrees is too much, especially for the cylinder power of -2.00 and it doesn't meet ANSI standards. While it isn't huge, it is noticable but the difference may be due to the technique of the technician reading the glasses, it may necessary to have the glasses measured again. The stronger the cylinder the more accurate the glasses have to be. The other changes of .25 sph and higher add power  may be fine and even appreciated.  When the add power is increased with the new glasses, if you are using a progressive lens, the distortion to the sides increases and the power changes more quickly from the top distance zone to he lower near zone.  These two changes can take a few days to adapt to.  It may be helpful to compare the newly written Rx to the old glasses and to the old written Rx too.  You can compare the written rx's to the actual glasses and see what you've adapted to.
Now, besides the Rx, there is the question of brand and model of the progressive and the material of the lens. If these changed compared to what you've been used to, it can take some time to adapt to.  

While you could adapt to anything, make sure that the written axis of 9 is similar to the old, and if so get the glasses remade.

These factors may or may not cause 'pain'.  Some people do get a feeling of a pulling or ache or even a pain, some don't.  But if you feel that the glasses cause the pain, and if you discontinue the new glasses the pain goes away, you are pretty confident the glasses are responsible.  If it isn't the glasses, I have to suggest that you see your doctor about the pain...but if you can control the pain by use or disuse of the glasses, it's the glasses and nothing serious.  

If you are the Nancy that contributed via paypal, thank you.  If you have additional questions please write back with any additional info.

here's a link to ansi stnds.:


Mitch Axelrod, OD

Ophthalmology & Optometry

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mitchell Axelrod


I'm happy to answer questions about eye exam findings and procedures, glasses and contact lens types/prescriptions/problems. I can also answer questions about general eye conditions/diseases. I do not answer questions concerning surgical techniques/procedures. Please state your age or within a small range when asking questions, as it is often important.


Optometrist 19 yrs.

Doctor of Optometry, cum laude; Residency in Ocular Disease

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.