If you have 20/20 vision, you can see an object that is 20 feet away clearly. The term refers to average, normal vision. If your vision doesn’t measure 20/20, you may need to wear contact lenses or glasses to see clearly.
The definition of 20/20 vision is the ability to see an object clearly from 20 feet away. Others with normal vision can also see an object clearly at that distance. 20/20 vision refers to “normal” vision, not “perfect” vision.
Visual acuity is a term that means clarity or sharpness of vision and that the objects you see are crisply outlined and not blurry.
Calling normal vision “20/20 vision” is true for eye care professionals in the U.S., but not everywhere in the world. In Europe and elsewhere, eye care professionals would say that normal vision is 6/6 vision because they use the measurement of 6 meters instead of 20 feet.
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Having 20/20 vision doesn’t include other factors like peripheral vision (seeing what’s on either side of you), your ability to see colors or your depth perception.
Depth perception is also called stereopsis. It refers to being able to see how long, wide and deep an object is, along with how near or far it is from you.
Color blindness means that you don’t see colors the same way other people see them. It’s also called color vision deficiency or poor color vision.
Yes. Having 20/20 vision means you have normal or average, vision. Some people have vision that’s better than 20/20, like 20/15 vision or 20/10 vision. This means that you can see something 20 feet away (like a line on an eye chart) that most people can see when they’re 15 feet away (20/15) or 10 feet away (20/10).
Most people don’t have 20/20 vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses. One estimate suggests that only about 35% of all adults in the U.S. have 20/20 vision without corrective lenses.
There are several eye conditions that can cause your vision to be less than the average of 20/20. These include refractive errors:
There are many different conditions that affect your eyesight, including those that are systemic (throughout your body) and those that affect only your eyes.
Everyone needs to have regular eye examinations. However, your provider is more likely to stress the need for regular eye examinations if you have disorders like:
Your eye care provider will ask you to read letters off a chart (known as a Snellen chart). You’ll first read with one eye covered, then the other eye covered and then with both eyes. Your provider can then measure how close (or how far away you are) from 20/20 vision in each eye.
The results will give your eye care professional information about your sight and what prescription you may need to correct it. Visual acuity tests are fairly simple and non-invasive. They can be performed by a technician, nurse, optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist.
If you need vision correction, there are safe and affordable choices. It’s important to choose a corrective vision method that suits both your prescription needs and your lifestyle.
You can’t change the eyes or the eyesight you’re born with, but you can do certain things to prevent vision loss. These things include:
Aging can affect your eyes, even if you’ve had 20/20 vision throughout your life. Many older adults find that they have trouble with close-up vision and may have trouble telling some colors apart. They may also find that their eyes don’t adjust as quickly to changes in light.
You should see your healthcare provider for your regularly scheduled appointments. If you have any worrying changes in between your appointments, you should contact your provider. These changes may include:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Having 20/20 vision means that your vision is normal. If you don’t have 20/20 vision, your eye care professional will help you find out what condition may be affecting your vision. They’ll also help you find a way to improve your vision, such as wearing glasses or having eye surgery. Keep your scheduled eye appointments and follow recommendations. You can do many things to prevent vision loss.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/25/2022.
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