Do you get nervous when you stand in front of the vision screening poster at your doctor’s office? Maybe you try and cheat by uncovering one eye just slightly. All the while you are hoping for 20/20 vision. But what exactly is 20/20 vision and why does it matter?
What is 20/20 vision?
In general, people know that 20/20 vision is good, but what does it mean?
Imagine looking at an object that is 20 feet away from you. If the object looks clear and sharp, you likely have 20/20 vision. If the object doesn’t look defined at 20 feet away, you may have a higher bottom number, for example, 20/100. If this is the case, it means that you can see at 20 feet what someone with average vision can see at 100 feet away.
Basically, someone who has less than 20/20 vision will need to be closer to an object to see it as clearly as someone with 20/20 vision.
20/20 vision defined
The American Optometric Association (AOA) defines 20/20 vision as “a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet.” It’s important to note that 20/20 vision is not considered a “perfect or ideal vision” by the medical community.
Other considerations for good vision
While 20/20 vision is one indicator of having good vision at a distance, there are other factors that must be considered. These include:
- Peripheral awareness (side vision): The ability to see out of the corners of our eye
- Eye coordination: The ability for both eyes to work together as a team
- Depth perception: The ability to see objects in three dimensions
- Color vision: The ability to distinguish between different hues and colors
- Focusing ability: The ability of eyes to rapidly focus on objects that are near and far
Visual clarity and the vision abilities listed above all must function correctly to have good vision. A comprehensive vision exam considers all sight abilities to determine whether your vision is normal.
What happens if I don’t have 20/20 vision?
If you don’t have 20/20 vision, don’t worry! It’s estimated that only 35 percent of adults in the United States have 20/20 vision without adding vision correctors such as glasses or contacts.
- Single vision lenses
- Multifocal lenses
- Soft contact lenses
- Hard contact lenses
- Multifocal contact lenses
- Vision correction surgery
For a full list of common vision correction options click here.
The right vision correction option will depend on your comfort level, how often you need to wear a vision corrector, cost, type of vision problem you have and your lifestyle. Talk with your eye doctor to help choose the option that is effective and comfortable for you.
If you’re interested in ensuring healthy vision for your family, click here to learn more about how you can make sure your eyes are covered.