Is 20/20 Eyesight Really Perfect Vision?

You have probably heard someone say, “I have perfect 20/20 vision!” before.  It is often what many people think when it comes to having “perfect” vision.  It is certainly what we are taught when we are growing up by our parents and doctors.  But, what is 20/20 vision and is 20/20 vision good… or perfect?

What is 20/20 Vision?

The phrase “20/20 vision” simply refers to what doctors have deemed to be “normal vision” by utilizing an eye chart that is placed 20 feet away.  The standard is 20 feet because that is considered the distance where individuals should be able to see with the eyes relaxed and with no strain.  As a result, the eye chart test (also known as a “Snellan Chart” named after a Dutch ophthalmologist named Herman Snellan) is a standard form of measuring the clarity and sharpness of one’s vision.  It was developed back in the late 1800’s and is still used to this day.

The top number refers to your distance from the chart (20 feet) and the bottom number refers to the size letter you can read, which then indicates the distance the average person would have to be to read that same line.  For example, if you are tested and have 20/15 vision, it means that your vision is actually better than the average.  When you are standing 20 feet away from the chart, others with “normal vision” would have to be closer at 15 feet to see the same letters.  Similarly, if your vision is 20/40, your vision is worse than the average person.  You have to be 20 feet away from the chart where the average person could see at 40 feet away.

What is “Perfect” Vision?

So, is 20/20 vision good? The short answer is yes, definitely. However, even 20/20 vision is not considered “perfect vision”.  Since an individual can = have sharper vision than the average, the idea of 20/20 being the best or “perfect” vision is technically incorrect.  It is, however, the typical goal that most eye doctors seek to achieve with corrective lenses or contacts.  And individuals with vision 20/200 or worse are actually considered legally blind.

When Should You Get Your Eyes Tested?

It’s estimated that only 35% of the population retains 20/20 vision throughout their life without either glasses, contacts or corrective surgery.

In fact, it is believed that children develop visual acuity early and within the first year of their life, so it is recommended that the sooner you can get your child’s eyes checked, the better.  You can catch any changes in the child’s vision early on and take immediate corrective action.  Around the age of 8 or 9, it is believed that children become nearsighted and start to lose their 20/20 vision.  And while it will remain relatively stable throughout the remainder of your life, as you get older (into your 60’s and 70’s), your vision will change again.  This is why it’s so important to be sure to get your eyes tested every year with your annual eye exam.  Not only will your eye doctor be able to catch any changes with respect to your vision, but they will also be able to check for other potential problems with your eyes, such as cataracts, glaucoma and other eye infections and eye diseases.  Any changes with respect to your vision can be rectified immediately with corrective lenses and/or contacts.

In conclusion, you don’t have to worry so much about trying to have “perfect” vision throughout your life.  There are a number of factors that can affect your vision, including some that are out of your control (like genetics).  It is important that you take proper care of your eyes to help keep them healthy.  This includes, as mentioned above, getting regular eye exams.  Also, if you require corrective lenses or contacts, making sure to wear them appropriately and when necessary.  Avoid unnecessary strain on your eyes, particularly if your eyes are not 20/20 and you need help to correct your vision.  You can also take good care of your eyes by protecting them from the sun’s harmful UV rays, making sure you read in good lighting, and taking a break from all of your electronic devices (particularly those your smartphone and computer).

If you experience persistent blurry vision, you may be eligible for LASIK. The laser vision correction procedure can correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. By doing so, LASIK can lower a person’s dependence on prescription glasses and contact lenses. If you are interested in learning more about LASIK or if you’re still asking yourself “is 20/20 vision good”, contact Advanced Eye Medical. Schedule a FREE consultation by calling (800) 80-LASER (52737) today.