Should high Cylinder be kept on first Differentials?

Hi folks,

I am planning on purchasing my first differentials ever, but came across a few questions I’d like to ask.

My current prescription is:

OS: sph -5.50
OD: sph -5.50, cyl -1.25 axis 060

After reading several blog posts about the topic, and about the importance of not making several focal changes at the same time, I was thinking of just reducing the spherical and keeping my cylinder exactly the same - and see how my eyes respond to that. My idea was to tackle the cylinder last of all on my journey, and just concentrating on reducing the spherical for now.

But revising Jake’s email series, he says to drop the cyl if it is -0.25, or to just reduce -1.25 sph (instead of the standard -1.5) if there is a 0.50 cyl, for the first differentials. Then on the forums or Facebook I have read that if cyl is 1 diopter or less, to just drop it and compensate it with spherical instead.

So now I’m feeling confused as to what to do, because my cyl is -1.25 (over 1). So I wondered if I should drop some little cylinder too for my first differentials and compensate with spherical? or just drop the spherical, and keep the cylinder intact for now anyway.

So I guess my question is - Is it okay to keep the high cylinder exactly the same and just drop the spherical for your first differentials? Or is keeping a high cylinder for close-up differentials a bad idea or a no-no?

I’m not asking for diopter-specific advice - I’d just like to make up my mind about how to handle any high astigmatism before I buy any glasses, and the posts I have seen up to date have left me a little confused.

I apologise in advance if this has been addressed before (if so, please feel free to share links!)


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Hi Cristina, from my blog reading and video viewing I would think it preferable to just drop the spherical and keep the cylinder intact for now, since this will be your first reduction and your cylinder is greater than 1 diopter - keep your visual cortex happy! Keep the cylinder intact for the first couple of reductions is the general advice, then tackle prescription complexity.

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N.B. In this article and flowchart ‘bifocal’ should read ‘binocular’.

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I am using (when on the PC) some cheapo non-cyl glasses I got off the Ebay (from Portugal). As detailed in my intro: Intro from a newbie (-6.75/-5.75)

These work OK. But my left eye can see from a meter away, but right eye only like 60cm away. So they are not optimal, but I am not getting experiencing any eye strain. Besides lack of cylinder, the chosen diopters were maybe also not optimal, as for the left eye it is +1 and for the right +1.25. The Portuguese firm on Ebay only sold with .75 difference between the eyes, so had to compromise. I just though -5 is too much for the left eye.

Do I have guidance for you? I am not the expert, but I would say my cyl -1.25 make some difference. So optimally would not remove it. I know my contacts had less. So I reduced a bit for the 1st normalized. I would think for me, for normalized, the left eye -0.5 cyl can be dropped, I did, and see no ill effects. For the right eye where I have medium cyl, I would keep most of it. There is time to toy around with that later.

Recap of my glasses currently:
My full (2015-2018): R: -6.75 (-1.5) and L: -5.75 (-0.5) (I use these now only for playing tennis)
My 1st norm (Sept 2018): R: -6.00 (-1.25) and L: -5.00 (-0.25) (For everything)
My close-up (Sept 2018 off Ebay, Portuguese seller): R: -5.5 (0.00) and L: -4.75 (0.00) (For PC time)
(Cheapo 2EUR (Ebay, Chinese seller): R: 4.00 L: 4.00… of no use currently. Ok for the left eye only)

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Hi Penny, thank you so much for your input! After reading the link you posted, everything makes much more sense and I know what to do now. Seeing a diagram explaining how to handle the sph/cyl complexity step by step has been extremely helpful, including the cyl for normalized in the long run.

I liked the idea of doing it gradually, and using spherical-only reductions in between cylinder changes. I was precisely wanting to avoid confusing my visual cortex and make things simple :slight_smile:

I will keep the cylinder the same the first few reductions then, as I initially had calculated. I will see how (OS -4, OD -4 / -1.25 060) goes!

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Hi weelie,

Knowing about your journey has been very helpful too! Thanks for sharing it with me, I was worried precisely because I too thought that cyl -1.25 does make the difference. How good to know that dropping your cylinder for normalized has been working :smile:

I realize now how complicated the cylinder topic can be, definitely! So I will tackle it later on, after getting more acquainted with the whole process (plus finding out how my eyes deal with the reduced spherical, etc.) I’ll deal with a few spherical reductions first. Then I could start reducing cyl gently for close-up and for normalized later on, as the blog post suggested.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

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