Optical power
Encyclopedia
Optical power is the degree to which a lens
Lens (optics)
A lens is an optical device with perfect or approximate axial symmetry which transmits and refracts light, converging or diverging the beam. A simple lens consists of a single optical element...

, mirror
Mirror
A mirror is an object that reflects light or sound in a way that preserves much of its original quality prior to its contact with the mirror. Some mirrors also filter out some wavelengths, while preserving other wavelengths in the reflection...

, or other optical system converges or diverges light. It is equal to the reciprocal
Multiplicative inverse
In mathematics, a multiplicative inverse or reciprocal for a number x, denoted by 1/x or x−1, is a number which when multiplied by x yields the multiplicative identity, 1. The multiplicative inverse of a fraction a/b is b/a. For the multiplicative inverse of a real number, divide 1 by the...

of the focal length
Focal length
The focal length of an optical system is a measure of how strongly the system converges or diverges light. For an optical system in air, it is the distance over which initially collimated rays are brought to a focus...

of the device. The dioptre
Dioptre
A dioptre, or diopter, is a unit of measurement of the optical power of a lens or curved mirror, which is equal to the reciprocal of the focal length measured in metres . It is thus a unit of reciprocal length. For example, a 3-dioptre lens brings parallel rays of light to focus at metre...

is the most common unit of measurement of optical power. The SI unit for optical power is the inverse metre (m-1).

For two or more thin lens
Thin lens
[Image:Lens1.svg|thumb|A lens can be considered a thin lens if d [Image:Lens1.svg|thumb|A lens can be considered a thin lens if d [Image:Lens1.svg|thumb|A lens can be considered a thin lens if d...

es close together, the optical power of the combined lenses is approximately equal to the sum of the optical powers of each lens. Similarly, the optical power of a single lens is roughly equal to the sum of the powers of each surface. These approximations are commonly used in optometry
Optometry
Optometry is a health care profession concerned with eyes and related structures, as well as vision, visual systems, and vision information processing in humans. Optometrists, or Doctors of Optometry, are state licensed medical professionals trained to prescribe and fit lenses to improve vision,...

.

When a lens is immersed in a refractive medium
Medium (optics)
An optical medium is material through which electromagnetic waves propagate. It is a form of transmission medium. The permittivity and permeability of the medium define how electromagnetic waves propagate in it...

, its optical power and focal length change.

An eye
Human eye
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light for several purposes. As a conscious sense organ, the eye allows vision. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth...

that has too much or too little refractive power to focus
Focus (optics)
In geometrical optics, a focus, also called an image point, is the point where light rays originating from a point on the object converge. Although the focus is conceptually a point, physically the focus has a spatial extent, called the blur circle. This non-ideal focusing may be caused by...

light onto the retina
Retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

has a refractive error
Refractive error
A refractive error, or refraction error, is an error in the focusing of light by the eye and a frequent reason for reduced visual acuity.-Classification:...

. A myopic eye has too much power so light is focused in front of the retina. Conversely, a hyperopic eye has too little power so when the eye is relaxed, light is focused behind the retina. An eye with a refractive power in one meridian
Meridian (perimetry, visual field)
Meridian is used in perimetry and in specifying visual fields. According to IPS Perimetry Standards 1978 : "Perimetry is the measurement of [an observer's] visual functions ... at topographically defined loci in the visual field...

that is different from the refractive power of the other meridians has astigmatism
Astigmatism (eye)
Astigmatism is an optical defect in which vision is blurred due to the inability of the optics of the eye to focus a point object into a sharp focused image on the retina. This may be due to an irregular or toric curvature of the cornea or lens. There are two types of astigmatism: regular and...

. Anisometropia
Anisometropia
Anisometropia is the condition in which the two eyes have unequal refractive power; that is, are in different states of myopia , hyperopia or in the extreme, antimetropia , the unequal refractive states cause unequal rotations thus leading to diplopia and asthenopia.Anisometropia can adversely...

is the condition in which one eye has a different refractive power than the other eye.