What Does 20/20 Vision Mean? (And How Can I Get it?)

You’ve heard people say they have 20/20 vision, but what does that really mean?

To answer that, we will need to take a closer look – pun intended – at some vision-related terminology. This will help us fully understand how eye doctors measure the quality of your vision and determine your score.

You’ve heard people say they have 20/20 vision, but what does that really mean?

To answer that, we will need to take a closer look – pun intended – at some vision-related terminology. This will help us fully understand how eye doctors measure the quality of your vision and determine your score.

Visual acuity sounds sophisticated but really it is just the term used to describe the sharpness of your vision. It’s measured by your ability to identify letters or numbers on a standardized Snellen eye chart from a specific viewing distance. A visual acuity test is a static measurement, meaning you will be sitting/standing still during the test and the letters and/or numbers you are viewing will also be stationary.

Although visual acuity testing is helpful in determining the clarity of your eyesight in “standard” conditions, it isn’t an accurate predictor of the quality of your vision in all situations. For example, visual acuity will not predict how well you see:

  • Objects that are similar in brightness to their background
  • Colored objects
  • Moving objects

So If I Have 20/20 Vision, Does That Make Me a Superhero?

Um. Probably not. Sorry. Although, if you have 20/20 visual acuity, you are in the minority. According to a University of Iowa Hospital research study, only about 35% of all adults have 20/20 vision without glasses, contact lenses or corrective surgery.

The term 20/20 and similar fractions are visual acuity measurements. The fraction compares the patient’s results (the denominator, if you will) to the results expected from the ’normal’ visual system (the numerator). The overall fraction describes the smallest size of letter the patient can identify correctly.

For example, if you can identify all the letters on the “normal” visual acuity row on the chart, you have 20/20 vision. The increasingly larger letter sizes correspond to worse visual acuity measurements (20/40, 20/60, etc.). In the same way, the lines with smaller letters correspond with visual acuity measurements that are better than 20/20 (such as 20/15 or 20/10).

With LASIK, You Could Achieve 20/20 or Better

If you have less than normal visual acuity, there are many options to improve your vision – glasses…contacts…LASIK!

LASIK uses a laser to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. Many patients achieve 20/20 or even better after having LASIK! But to be clear, while LASIK is great, it won’t make you a superhero. It will just give you super vision.

Ready to talk LASIK? Schedule your consultation with Mann Eye Institute today.

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