20/20 vision. 20/10 vision. A lot of numbers get tossed around during vision assessments, but what do they actually mean? Contrary to popular belief, having 20/20 vision doesn’t necessarily mean you can see perfectly. It also isn’t as common as you may think. Check out these myths if you’ve ever wondered, “What does 20/20 vision mean?”
What Does 20/20 Vision Mean?
Myth: It Refers to Superhuman Vision
Many people think 20/20 vision refers to flawless vision, but that simply isn’t the case. In reality, the term means that an individual can see normally – basically, they can stand 20 feet away from something and see its details. Think of it as a simple ratio: The top number of the ratio is your distance in feet from an item (like a vision chart). The bottom number of the ratio is the distance at which a person with normal eyesight can see the details of the item. So if you have 20/30 vision, your vision is a bit worse than average; you have to be 20 feet from something to see details that other people can see from 30 feet away.
Myth: It Only Refers to Distance
20/20 vision is best understood in terms of distance vision. However, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA), distance vision isn’t the only factor in your overall visual clarity. Your eye coordination, peripheral vision, and visual acuity (the clearness or sharpness of your vision) are also important factors.
Myth: Most People Have 20/20 Vision
20/20 vision might refer to “normal” vision. But in reality, only about 35 percent of all adults have normal vision without corrective eyewear. On the other hand, about 75 percent of adults can achieve this level of vision with the help of corrective eyewear.
Myth: 20/20 Vision Is as Good as it Gets
As explained above, 20/20 vision refers to normal vision, not perfect vision. If you have, say, 20/15 vision, it refers to sharper-than-average visual prowess. Some people even have 20/10 vision, allowing them to see details at 20 feet that others can only see at a distance of 10 feet. Of course, 20/10 vision is rare – less than one percent of people have it – but it’s further proof that 20/20 vision is simply average, not perfect.
Fact: You Can Improve Your Vision
Not everyone can achieve a normal level of vision, whether that be due to eye diseases, lifestyle choices, or genetics. However, you can certainly work with your eye doctor to improve your overall vision and eye health. There are several steps you can take to get closer to 20/20 vision:
- Wear corrective eyewear: Sometimes corrective eyewear (like glasses or contacts) may be all you need. Be sure to wear your eyewear as your eye doctor recommends, and remember that new eyewear always comes with an adjustment period.
- Schedule regular eye exams: Left untreated, conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts can dramatically affect your vision and even lead to blindness. Schedule regular eye exams to help your doctor identify any warning signs and treat these conditions before they have permanent consequences. Your eye doctor can also diagnose other health complications like diabetes – sometimes before your primary care provider identifies the signs.
So, what does 20/20 vision mean? Contrary to popular belief, the term doesn’t refer to perfect vision – only normal vision. If you want to achieve 20/20 vision, your first step should be booking an eye exam.
Are you ready to schedule your next eye exam? Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!