What is 20/20 Vision?

October 12, 2020


The term 20/20 vision is often used in many offices to describe great vision. However, what exactly does having 20/20 vision mean?

Read on to learn more about 20/20 vision.

Understanding 20/20 Vision

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 20/20 vision is a term used to describe a person’s visual acuity, or the clarity or sharpness of vision, at a distance of twenty feet. Essentially, having 20/20 vision means you can see objects clearly twenty feet away with or without glasses or contacts.

Other fractions such as 20/100 and 20/40 are also measurements of visual acuity. The last number for all these fractions refers to the maximum distance at which one can see clearly.

To determine if you have 20/20 vision, an eye doctor will administer the Snellen eye test where you will have to read a chart containing letters of varying sizes. The chart will have the largest letter placed at the top and the smallest letters at the bottom. A traditional Snellen eye test will have 11 lines of letters starting with a large “E” at the top of the chart. If you can read the 8th line of letters at the bottom, then you have 20/20 vision.

Is 20/20 Vision “Perfect Vision”?

The American Optometric Association states that 20/20 vision does not mean perfect vision. Instead, it is only used to describe the sharpness or clarity of vision at a specific distance. There are also other factors that affect your visual ability. Some of these include eye coordination, color vision, depth perception, and focusing ability.

In addition, certain conditions can influence your eyesight. Those with hyperopia or presbyopia can see well from a distance but are unable to focus on nearby objects. Those with myopia can see things close up, but not far away.

Achieving 20/20 Vision

Achieving 20/20 vision is possible with prescription eyeglasses and contacts, but these can only provide temporary solutions. Once you take them off, your vision will decrease. Those interested in achieving 20/20 vision should consider looking into vision correction procedures.

For example, LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a procedure that uses a special laser to remove corneal tissue and reshape the cornea to permanently change its focusing power. LASIK eye surgery is used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

PRK, known as Photorefractive Keratectomy, is an alternative to LASIK. During PRK eye surgery, the cornea’s outer layer is removed entirely to expose the area, whereas in LASIK, a thin, hinged flap is created in the cornea.

Implantable contact lenses are also another way to achieve 20/20 vision. During this procedure, a special lens (Visian ICL) made of collamer is surgically implanted in the eye. These lenses are designed to permanently correct your vision and provide UV protection and anti-reflectivity. However, these can be removed if your prescription changes.

To learn more about LASIK and permanent vision correction options, click here.

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