Being able to see clearly is essential to carrying out everyday activities—from reading to driving. If you wear eyeglasses or contacts, you know that they help you have 20/20 vision. But what does that number actually mean? To help you better understand, Dr. Doug Dolan of Dolan Family Vision, a leading eye care center in Kalispell, MT, explains how opticians use this term to describe the quality of your eyesight.
What Does 20/20 Vision Mean?
When you visit an eye doctor, they’ll perform an eye exam using something called a Snellen chart. This chart features letters that progressively get smaller in size. Though it may look simple, the chart actually reveals very sophisticated insights about your vision.
When taking an eye test, you’ll stand 20 feet away from this chart and read as many lines of letters as you can see clearly. At this distance, your eye is relaxed and doesn’t have to bend the light rays reflected by the object in order to focus, as it would when looking at something up close. The term 20/20 is an expression of your ability to see at this distance. The first letter is the distance from the chart, and the second number shows the smallest size letter you can read. Having 20/20 vision means you can see exactly what you should be able to see.
Having less than 20/20 vision means that you have sharper than average vision, whereas a score over 20/20 indicates poorer than average vision. For instance, if you have 20/30 vision, it means that, though you’re 20 feet from the chart, you can only read the letters that most people see when they’re standing 30 feet away. In this case, prescription eyeglasses will improve your visual acuity and help you see more clearly.
Why Is It Important to Schedule an Eye Exam?
Only about 35% of adults naturally have 20/20 vision, and your sight can change with age. That’s why it’s important to visit an optician for regular checkups. If you start to experience difficulty focusing or experience eye strain, a comprehensive eye examination by a doctor will determine the cause of your vision issues. For example, you may need eyeglasses to bring nearer objects into focus, even if you can still see clearly at a distance. Reduced vision is also an early warning sign of more complicated eye diseases, so getting your vision tested regularly helps identify potential issues before serious problems develop.
For the most comprehensive eye care in Flathead County, choose Dolan Family Vision. Lead by Dr. Doug Dolan, an experienced and licensed optometrist—their team is committed to providing the most advanced and progressive vision care available. Visit their website to learn more about their extensive services and incredible selection of eyeglasses. To schedule an appointment, call (406) 756-8420 today.