Vision Care


Clearing Up the Meaning of 20/20 Vision

With all of the complicated terms associated with vision, from prescription coordinates to the myriad of eye condition terms, one might think that "20/20 Vision" would have a far more complicated meaning than it does. In fact, you may be surprised just how simple the basis for 20/20 vision is.

When a patient takes a basic "eye chart" vision test in their eye doctor's office, they are undergoing what is referred to as a visual acuity test. This test utilizes a "Snellen chart," which you may know as that white chart with progressively smaller lines of letters moving down the chart. From twenty feet away, with one eye covered, the patient reads aloud the line with the smallest text they can see clearly. This is repeated with the other eye covered. Results usually determine whether or not a patient may need corrective lenses to improve their vision.

While 20/20 vision refers to "normal" quality eyesight, what 20/20 actually means is this: At 20 feet from the chart, a person with "normal" vision can read the smallest line of text with one eye closed. Therefore, that person can see at 20 feet away what a person with "normal" vision can also see clearly from 20 feet away. Someone with 20/40 vision must be no more than 20 feet away to clearly see what a person with 20/20 vision can see from 40 feet. This measurement scale continues upward in 20-foot increments to such distances as 20/200, which is considered legally blind.

As much as the term 20/20 has become synonymous with "perfect" vision, this is simply not the case. There are many people who sport 20/15 vision. 20/15 vision means that individual can see objects clearly from 20 feet away that people with "normal" vision need to be 15 feet away to see. There are also vision researchers developing vision technology that can reportedly improve an individual's vision to somewhere in the range of 20/5. There are differing opinions in the optical world as to how practical this level of vision would be to the general public.

Whatever your visual acuity, hopefully, this information helps clear up any confusion you may have about the term "20/20 vision." If you have questions that have not been answered here, consult your eye doctor.

Why Eye Exams Are Important For Overall Health

The eyes are the windows into the entire body. Just as the eyes allow us to see what's happening in the world around us, they also allow doctors to see what's happening inside of our bodies.

A comprehensive eye exam performed by an eyecare specialist like an optometrist not only assesses the condition of a person's vision, but can also detect the onset of eye disease and other serious health issues. As a result, vision care is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and should be a top priority.

Vision Care:
Research indicates that 3.4 million Americans age 40 or older suffer from visual impairments including cloudy or blurred vision, near or far sightedness and even blindness. Predictably, as the population continues to age, the occurrence of vision disorders will increase.

In addition, adults are prone to developing various age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Fortunately, eyecare doctors can often detect symptoms of these diseases in their earliest stages, even before a patient is aware of vision issues.

Link to Health Management:
Eye exams serve as a preventative tool not only for identifying eye impairments but also symptoms of serious diseases. For example, examining the cornea and blood flow through the retina in the eye can help eyecare specialists detect signs of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. Ultimately, this early detection can not only save patients' eyesight but also alert them to the presence of disease before it causes serious damage.

Taking Charge:
It's clear to see that an annual eye exam provides important benefits. A comprehensive eye exam is straightforward, painless, and takes less than an hour to complete. By receiving your annual exam, you will be taking a proactive step to safeguard your vision and sustain your total-body health.