While many people believe having 20/20 vision means that they have perfect vision, this visual acuity measurement is only one of several different ways of testing eyesight and eye health. Visual acuity measures the clearness and sharpness of a person’s vision from a specific distance and presents this measurement as a Snellen fraction. When an individual has 20/20 vision, it means that he is able to see clearly at 20 feet what the average person should see at 20 feet. Individuals with 20/40 vision can see clearly at 20 feet what the average person would see from 40 feet away.
Because visual acuity only measures how clearly people can see at a distance, having 20/20 vision does not mean that you have perfect eyesight. In fact, people who forgo routine eye exams because they have 20/20 vision and believe their eyesight is exceptional are at a greater risk of developing severe eye conditions from untreated eye problems. There are several important measures of vision and eye health, like eye coordination, eye teaming, depth perception, and color vision, which can sometimes be overlooked in favor of visual acuity testing.
In order to make sure your eyes are healthy and working properly, you need to have comprehensive eye exams, even if you have 20/20 vision. Here are some common myths about 20/20 vision that you should consider when you are thinking about your eye health:
Visual acuity testing can help determine whether or not a person is nearsighted, but it does not do much to detect farsightedness. A person can take a visual acuity test and find out they have 20/20 vision, but they can also be farsighted. Corrective lenses can be used to help people address their farsightedness, even when they have 20/20 vision.
Even people with 20/20 vision can have severe eye problems like tumors or glaucoma as well as minor vision issues like colorblindness. Even if you have always had 20/20 vision, it is important for you to have routine eye exams to make sure your eyes are healthy. If there are any problems with your eyes, early detection and treatment can prevent them from becoming serious issues.
While it is less common than 20/20 vision, there are people who have 20/15 and even 20/10 vision. Whether this stems from good genetics, improved visual acuity testing, or advanced medical treatments like eye surgery, there are some individuals who can see clearer than most.
Contacts and eyeglasses do not automatically give their wearers 20/20 vision. While these tools can help correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, about 25% of people do not reach 20/20 vision even with corrective glasses or contacts. Anything from the type of lenses a patient needs to refractive errors and higher-order aberrations can prevent people from having 20/20 vision even if they wear glasses or contacts.
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