What Does 20/20 Vision Really Mean?

Perfect vision is truly in the eyes of the beholder. What one considers excellent, another may consider ok. Last week we posted a link that generated a lot of interest. It addressed the question, “What is 20/20 vision?” The answer to this is not as cut and dry as we would like it to be. It gets even more confusing when you factor in LASIK. We wanted to share our take on the question,” what does 20/20 vision really mean” in this week’s blog.

Visual acuity is the clarity or sharpness of one’s vision. The numbers 20/20 or 20/400 stand for the quality one can see from a certain distance. The first or top number is the distance a person is standing from the eye chart. The second, or bottom number, is the distance someone with normal vision can be from the chart and still read the letters in that line.

Over the years doctors have determined what is considered “normal” vision. They then determined how far away a person with normal vision should be from an object to still see clearly. The number they came up with is 20 feet. This means that someone with “normal” vision should be able to clearly see an object that is 20 feet away. If you are 20/400, at 20 feet you can see clearly what someone with “normal” vision can see 400 feet away.

But it gets even better. There are people out there with 20/15 and 20/10 vision. This is considered better than 20/20 vision. Someone with 20/10 vision can see clearly 20 feet from the eye chart what someone with 20/20 vision can see 10 feet from the same chart. The “normal” vision person had to move closer to the eye chart to be able to see clearly.

Many people considering LASIK get hung up on the goal of having 20/20 vision. We want to clarify that 20/20 vision is not perfect vision. In fact, there is no perfect vision. This is due to the variance in quality of vision. That is why we focus on vision quality over vision quantity. Don’t get us wrong, we care about your visual acuity, however, what is more important is how clear those images truly are. The answer varies from person to person depending on the quality of vision they have. It is all a matter of perspective.

If you are considering LASIK, a tip from the pros is to not get overly concerned with your prescription number. Instead, begin paying attention to your quality of vision. Compare your vision when you are wearing your contacts or glasses and when you aren’t. If you decide to have LASIK or PRK, you should ask yourself, are you 20/20 or are you 20/happy? That’s the answer we will want to know from you!

For more information or to schedule a LASIK or PRK consultation, call us today!