Everyone reading this has heard the term 20/20. But what does it mean? Is 20/20 vision ideal? Do you really want 20/20 vision?
Specifically, 20/20 simply means you are able to read a certain line on the Snellen eye chart (the one with the E on the top row) from 20 feet away. While this is an accurate way to test visual acuity, the Snellen eye chart does not test for other visual aspects of your eye health, such as peripheral vision, depth perception, color perception, or eye coordination.
With age, the ability to have “perfect” vision often declines. Generally, a 50 year old cannot see as sharply as an 18 year old. Our goal at The Eye Care Institute is for the patient to be “20/happy.” That is to say, the best vision for the patient, not the best vision based on a standardized test.
To the Doctors of The Eye Care Institute saying you can see 20/20 is like saying you drive 45 miles per hour; too fast for a school zone, too slow for an airline flight, but ideal for a commercial road. This is similar to having 20/20 vision; over 81% of professional baseball players have visual acuity of 20/15 or better and would be unhappy with “mere” 20/20 vision. However, a person with astigmatism (multiple focus points, in front of, or behind, the retina) would be really pleased with 20/20 vision.
So the next time you hear someone say they are 20/20, you can smile and know that good vision means different things to different people and not everyone should expect, or need, 20/20 vision.
To learn more about the Snellen eye chart, please see this article on All About Vision.