What Does 20/20 Vision Really Mean?

We’ve all heard the expression 20/20 before. This term is synonymous with having perfect vision, but where does it come from? Can you have better than 20/20 vision? If you don’t have it, is it possible to ever achieve it? Let’s demystify this common phrase and show how BoydVision can help get you there.

What Is 20/20 Vision?

20/20 is a ratio used to express visual acuity (the sharpness or clarity of an image) at a distance of 20 feet. If you’ve ever stood in front of the big E chart and read smaller and smaller letters, you’ve had your visual acuity checked.

Someone who has 20/20 vision is able to see clearly at 20 feet what a normal person should see at 20 feet. If you have 20/40 vision, you are able to see images at 20 feet that a normal person could see at 40 feet. Alternatively, if you have 20/10 vision, you can see at 20 feet what a normal person could see at 10 feet!

So while we use the expression to describe someone with perfect eyesight, it really just means that they can see “normally.”

Where does 20/20 come from?

Dr. Herman Snellen developed the standardized big E chart we all love in 1862. It’s such a great tool to test visual acuity that we still use it today! The chart has 11 lines, each with a print that is 25% smaller than the line above. If you can only read the top E at a distance of 20 feet, then you have 20/200 vision and are legally blind. If you make it all the way to the bottom, you have incredible 20/10 vision.

How can I improve my vision?

One way to help improve your vision is to check out this cool optical illusion. But if staring at that image gives you a headache, you could also get a pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses. Each solution has its unique pros and cons, but at BoydVision we can help you achieve 20/20 vision using completely custom vision correction procedure. Give us a call at 604-430-9560 or send us a message to get a free consultation with our eye surgeon, Dr. Boyd, to start seeing clearly.