20/20 vision is what is universally considered to be perfect vision and it is not something that should be taken for granted. Our vision is fundamental in pretty much everything we do and studies indicate that 80% of all the information we acquire to accurately perceive our surroundings is courtesy of our vision. To put this in to perspective, our other 4 senses (touch, hearing, smell and taste) only contribute a combined total of 20% to the information we receive.

Although most people have heard of the phrase 20/20 vision, few actually know what it means. Below is a simple explanation:

  • First number: The first number relates to the distance at which you are viewing the letter chart which is standardised to 20 feet.
  • Second number: This relates to the size of the letter you are looking at. So simply put, 20:20 vision means you can see a size 20 letter at a distance of 20 feet. If your eye sight is worse than this the second number increases e.g. 20:40. If you can only see the very top letter on an eye test chart this would mean that your vision is 20:200, which clearly would mean you require eye glasses.

As we get older the chances of us maintaining our 20/20 vision reduces and below are some useful hints and tips which will increase your chances of having 20/20 vision for longer:

  • Visit your Optometrist regularly: In my opinion having regular eye tests is the single most important factor in maintaining perfect vision. Your Optometrist is highly skilled at detecting and diagnosing the early signs of eye diseases which if left untreated could result i20/20 visionn a permanent reduction in your vision. Certain eye diseases such as Glaucoma, (also known as the ‘silent disease’) have no noticeable symptoms until your vision has been permanently damaged.  Such a disease is easily detected and treated by your Optometrist ensuring there is no damage to your vision.
  • Be vigilant to visual symptoms: If you ever have a visual symptom the worst thing you can do is ignore it and hope it goes away. The most serious symptoms to look out for are sudden reduction in vision, distorted vision (straight lines looking wavy), flashing lights in your vision, floaters in your vision, blind spots in your vision and eye pain. Each of the symptoms could indicate the onset of an eye disease which if left untreated could lead to a permanent reduction in your eye sight.
  • Monitor your general health: There are millions of people in the U.S. who have either high blood pressure or diabetes and are completely unaware. Both the conditions can cause blockages and leakages of the blood vessels at the back of the eyes (retina) which can result in a permanent vision loss. It is a good idea to get these things checked by your doctor for the sake of both your general health and eye health.
  • Eye protection: This generally applies to men (not always) in the work place and also at home doing DIY. If you are doing any task that could result in something flying in to your eye then you MUST wear protection. This is one of the number one causes of people losing their vision in one of their eyes. Generally in the work place your employer will insist that you wear protection but people tend to be a bit slacker when working at home.

Following the advice written in this article will in no way guarantee that you will have perfect vision for life but it will undoubtedly increase your chances. We only get one pair of eyes and although modern medicine means many eye conditions can be treated this is generally only if they are detected early enough.  Appreciate your vision for the wonderful gift that it is and you can show this appreciation by adhering to the advice above.

20/20 visionThis article was provided by Tim Harwood who practices Optometry in the UK. With over 10 years’ experience he has seen enough people lose their vision as a result of not attending for regular eye tests. Tim also provides information on his website Treatmentsaver.com which covers cosmetic surgery related issues such as Botox cost as well as laser eye surgery and dentistry.  Now go and book an eye test right now