What Does 20/20 Vision Mean?

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In this article, we will learn more about 20/20 vision, a standard ratio to express a person’s visual acuity, its definition, ways to correct less than 20/20 vision, and tips for keeping your eyes healthy.

20/20 vision

What does 20/20 Vision mean?

The term 20/20 vision expresses your level of visual acuity or ability to see sharp from a specific distance (20 feet), as determined through an eye exam. In the UK ophthalmologists sometimes still use the ratio 6/6 (20 feet = 6 meters).

Visual acuity is an expression that describes how sharp or clear you can see from a specific distance.  20/20 vision is considered normal, meaning the average person can see the chart sharp from 20 feet. If you have 20/100 vision, you can see at 20 feet what the average person can see at 100 feet.

Is 20/20 Vision Common?

In the US, it is estimated that 1 in 3 adults has 20/20 vision. In Asia, this ratio is lower.

Can Vision Be Better Than 20/20?

Yes, your vision can be better than 20/20. Having 20/20 vision means your vision is average or normal, but some people have 20/15 or 20/10 vision, meaning they can see objects sharp at 20 feet that ordinary people see sharp at 15 or 10 feet away.

When your vision is less than 20/20, for example, 20/50, you can see objects sharp at 20 feet that the average person can see sharp at 50 feet away.

What Causes Less Than 20/20 Vision?

The most common reasons for less than 20/20 vision are refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.

But specific eye or systemic diseases can also affect a person’s ability to see clearly, including:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Hypertension
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Macular degeneration
  • Strabismus

If your vision is less than 20/20 due to refractive errors, your eye doctor will prescribe a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, or you can opt for vision corrective surgery.

Tests to Assess Visual Acuity


Visual acuity is typically tested with a standardized reading chart. The most commonly used is the Snellen chart, with eleven rows of letters decreasing in size. From 20 feet away, you are instructed to read the rows of letters until you no longer can.

Your visual acuity will be expressed as a fraction where the first number indicates the distance, and the second number refers to the letter size.

If you have a visual acuity better than average, your second number is smaller than 20 (i.e., 20/15). In contrast, if your second number is greater than 20 (i.e., 20/80), it signifies that your visual acuity is less than average.

Visual acuity and more…

Visual acuity is not everything, it’s just one part of your vision.

The complete visual function also includes depth perception, the field of vision, color vision, eye movement, and binocular vision. A comprehensive eye exam will include all these facets of your vision and overall eye health.

How to keep your eyes healthy

Your eyes, as the rest of your body, are susceptible to aging. Here are some tips to keep your eyes as healthy and your vision as sharp as possible:

  • Have regular eye exams
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay physically active
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Control your cholesterol levels
  • Keep track of blood glucose levels if you have diabetes
  • Wear sunglasses and protective eyewear
  • Let your eyes rest after using digital devices for prolonged periods
  • Adopt a balanced and healthy diet with adequate nutrients and vitamins for eye health

Schedule an eye exam at EEC to check your visual acuity today.

Every patient deserves top-quality eye care from us. European Eye Center focuses on providing Western-standard services and determining appropriate treatment plans to help patients restore their vision in a feel-like-home atmosphere.

We are happy to help if you have questions about the 20/20 vision. Don’t hesitate to connect with us at info@europeaneyecenter.com.

Contact us today to schedule an eye care service!

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Ann De Fraye

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