What Is 20/20 Vision?

By http://www.millenniumparkeyecenter.com/author/
May 15, 2019

Cornea Treatment Procedures Chicago ILWhen you were little and pushing your overcooked carrots around your plate at the dinner table your Mom probably said something like this.

“You know, Jimmy has 20/20 vision and you need glasses. I bet he eats his carrots.”

Yes, carrots do have some benefits for your eyes. They are full of beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A. And vitamin A is critical for the eyes.

But whether or not you eventually ate your carrots, you may still wonder exactly what makes up 20/20 vision? Is it some idealized idea of “perfect vision” or what?

Since we’re all about keeping your eyes healthy at Millennium Park Eye Center, in this month’s blog let’s get into just what makes up 20/20 vision.


The American Optometric Association defines the term “20/20 vision.” 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.

Not necessarily “perfect”

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 box score from a Cubs game in the Tribune, and he’ll be reaching for his reading glasses. Similarly, another person could see fine at distance but is unable to focus properly up close (presbyopia). Presbyopia isn’t farsightedness; it is a condition that develops in almost everyone after age 40 where the eyes simply have more trouble flexing appropriately to read things up close.

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 Millennium Park Eye Center. Why? Things like glaucoma and macular degeneration are evil in that they don’t often show symptoms until about the time they are already damaging vision permanently. But the experts at Millennium Park can spot this stuff waaaaaaaay before that will happen.

You’re overdue for your eye exam, aren’t you? Give us a call at Millennium Park Eye Center, (312) 996-2020, to make your appointment.



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