What Is Cylindrical Power?

Are you curious to know what is cylindrical power? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about cylindrical power in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is cylindrical power?

For individuals with vision impairments, eyeglasses play a pivotal role in improving clarity and focus. When getting an eye prescription, you might encounter terms like “cylindrical power” or “cylinder power.” These terms are essential in addressing specific visual conditions such as astigmatism. In this blog, we will delve into what cylindrical power is, how it relates to your eyeglass prescription, and why it’s crucial for achieving optimal vision correction.

What Is Cylindrical Power?

Cylindrical power, often referred to as “cylinder power,” is a component of your eyeglass prescription used to correct astigmatism. Astigmatism is a common vision condition that occurs when the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) or the lens within the eye has an irregular shape. Instead of being perfectly spherical like a basketball, the cornea or lens may have a more football-like shape.

This irregular shape causes light entering the eye to be refracted (bent) differently in different meridians (or axes) of the eye, resulting in distorted or blurred vision. Cylindrical power in your eyeglass prescription is prescribed to counteract this astigmatism and bring light rays into focus properly on the retina, allowing for clearer vision.

Components Of A Cylindrical Prescription:

  1. Cylinder Power (CYL): This is the main component of the cylindrical prescription and is expressed in diopters (D). The cylinder power indicates the strength of the astigmatism correction needed to make your vision clear. It can be either positive (indicating nearsighted astigmatism) or negative (indicating farsighted astigmatism).
  2. Axis: The axis is a number that represents the orientation or angle at which the cylindrical lens must be placed in your eyeglasses to correct the astigmatism. It is measured in degrees, ranging from 0 to 180 degrees, with 90 degrees being vertical and 180 degrees being horizontal.
  3. Sphere Power (SPH): In addition to cylindrical power, your prescription may include spherical power to correct nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia). These values are represented in diopters as well.

Why Cylindrical Power Matters?

Cylindrical power is crucial because it addresses one of the most common vision conditions—astigmatism. Without the proper correction, astigmatism can lead to distorted or blurred vision at all distances, causing eye strain, headaches, and difficulty focusing on objects.

By incorporating cylindrical power into your eyeglasses, the lenses are designed to correct the irregularities in the shape of your eye’s lens or cornea. This correction allows light to converge accurately on the retina, providing clear and sharp vision.

It’s important to note that not all eyeglass prescriptions include cylindrical power. It depends on the unique vision needs of each individual. Some people may have spherical prescriptions only, while others require a combination of spherical and cylindrical corrections.


Cylindrical power is a crucial component of eyeglass prescriptions, especially for individuals with astigmatism. Understanding this prescription element is essential for optometrists and eyewear professionals to craft customized lenses that correct vision distortions and provide individuals with the clarity and comfort they need. So, the next time you receive an eyeglass prescription with cylindrical power, rest assured that it’s a key part of the solution to achieving clearer and more focused vision.


Is Cylindrical Power Good Or Bad?

Is Cylindrical Power Harmful? Cylindrical power itself is not harmful, but it can cause symptoms such as headaches, eye strain, and fatigue. If left untreated, it can also lead to amblyopia, or “lazy eye” and diplopia (double vision).

What Is The Cause Of Cylindrical Power?

It is still not known what causes cylindrical eyesight, but genetics is considered its big factor. It is usually present at birth, but it can develop later in life. It often occurs with farsightedness or nearsightedness. It may occur as a result of an eye injury or after eye surgery.

What Does Cylindrical Power Indicate?

The Cylindrical eye power is about the amount of lens power for astigmatism where it shows the weakest and greatest power of the eye. The power of eyes having a cylindrical column with minus signs indicates nearsighted astigmatism and plus sign indicates farsighted astigmatism.

How Much Cylindrical Power Is Normal?

In reality, most “normal” eyes have about 0.50 diopters of negative cylinder power at axis 180 (horizontally), so a typical eye would have a prescription of plano (0.00 diopters sphere) -0.50 x 180. The axis of my eyes is 180. Is it normal? “The axis of my eyes is 180.

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