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What Does The Term “20/20 Vision” Mean?

You’ve heard the term “20/20 vision”. But many people don’t know what it means.

Understanding The Term

The term “20/20 vision” is used to describe a specific level of visual acuity—meaning the sharpness and clarity of your vision. If you have 20/20 vision, that simply means that if you’re standing 20 feet away from something, you can see it as clearly as you should be able to see it.

> When the second number is lower than 20—for example, 20/15—your visual acuity is BETTER than average. It means that most people would need to stand 15 feet away from an object to see it clearly, but you can see it clearly standing 20 feet away.

> When the second number is higher than 20—for example, 20/80—your visual acuity is WORSE than average. It means that most people standing 80 feet away from an object can see it clearly, but you must move closer… All the way up to 20 feet away from that object to see it clearly.

A hawk has 20/2 vision—the best in the animal kingdom. That means an average person would need to stand 2 feet away from a very small object to see it clearly… But a hawk can see that same object clearly from 20 feet away.

Putting This Into Perspective…

  • With 20/40 vision, a person can pass a driver’s license test.
  • With 20/80 vision, a person still might be able to read a large newspaper headline.
  • With 20/200 vision, a person is considered legally blind.

But 20/20 Vision Does NOT Mean Perfect Vision

Contrary to common belief, having 20/20 vision does not mean you have perfect vision. It means you’re able to see distances clearly. There are many other important eye conditions that are not part of visual acuity. These include things like peripheral vision, eye coordination, depth perception, farsightedness, and color vision.

This video is entitled, “20/20 Isn’t Everything”:

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Let’s Be Sure Your Vision Is Clear AND Your Eyes Are Healthy

While a basic acuity test will tell you if you are nearsighted or not, it doesn’t tell you much about eye health. Be sure you, and the ones you love and care for, schedule regular eye exams to protect your vision.

Thanks for your trust in our eye care practice. We appreciate having you as our patient and friend.