OK, What Exactly IS 20/20 Vision?

By editor
October 15, 2015

When guilting you into eating those nasty overcooked, droopy carrots, your Mom may have used this line. “So and so has 20/20 vision. I guess he must have eaten his carrots.”

Well, that’s between you, your mother, and your therapist!

But what exactly is 20/20 vision? The American Optometric Association defines the term, saying it is “used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet.” People with 20/20 vision can see objects, type, etc. that should normally be seen at that distance. The back number is the one that really counts. So, if your vision is 20/100, you need to be at 20 feet to see what a person with 20/20 vision can see at 100 feet.

But don’t be fooled into thinking the 20/20 moniker means the person has perfect vision. Not necessarily. 20/20 is only an indicator of sharpness or vision clarity at a distance. It doesn’t take into account other important factors of vision — peripheral awareness (otherwise known as side vision), eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability, and color vision. A person could have 20/20 eyesight but be colorblind.

A farsighted person may be able to see the eye chart just fine. But ask that person to read the scorecard after a round of golf, and he’ll be reaching for his reading glasses. Similarly, the person may be able to see fine at distance but is unable to focus properly up close (presbyopia).

Plus, no matter what your prescription, be it 20/20, 20/60, or 20/400, you need to maintain the practice of regularly visiting the professionals at Westchester Eye Associates. Why? Things like glaucoma and macular degeneration are evil in that they don’t often show symptoms until about the time they are going to damage your vision permanently. But the pros at Westchester can spot this stuff waaaaaaaay before that will happen.

You’re overdue for your annual eye exam, aren’t you? Well, give us a call at our Harrison or Yonkers offices and let’s get down to it! You can neglect your car’s oil change, but not your eyes.

Eye Health


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