What Does 20/20 Vision Really Mean?

20/20 vision is a term you may have heard but not truly understood. During eye exams, many of our customers mistakenly believe that having 20/20 vision equates to “perfect” vision and become worried about their eye health after learning their eyesight is a bit different.

20/20 visionVision Acuity and Herman Snellen

In the 1860’s, a Dutch ophthalmologist named Herman Snellen developed an eye chart to measure visual acuity (the sharpness of your vision). This familiar chart is comprised of eleven lines of block letters that become smaller in each subsequent line.

The baseline for visual acuity is standing 20 feet away from the chart and being able to see all the letters clearly to the 8th line. This results in a measurement of 20/20 vision. All other measurements are based on this reading.

For example: A person standing 20 feet away and only being able to read the letters on the 4th line has 20/50 vision, while someone with exceptionally sharp eyesight will be able to read the letters of the 11th line clearly and have a 20/10 vision acuity.

Assessing vision acuity is important, as it measures the clarity of your vision and can give insight into the health and functionality of your retina. However, it is only one part of a comprehensive eye exam and does not provide a full picture of eye health.

To assess overall eye health, several other exams are administered. They include: measuring cornea pressure and curvature, blood vessel health and pupil dilation. Administered together, these tests — including vision acuity — give a holistic evaluation of eye health.

An appointment at a Hakim Optical Eye Exam Centre will provide a comprehensive and in-depth assessment of your eye health. Book an appointment online at your nearest location.

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