I Can See Clearly Now with 20/20 Vision – But what is 20/20 vision about?

MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily, MAS, MPH is a specialist in childs vision.
An Article by by MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily, MAS, MPH

Eye health and vision care is important at any age. Having 20/20 vision is the vision that most of us want because it means we have very good vision. Testing for good vision or 20/20 vision when children are young is especially important. It is during this time that we can prevent future problems if detection early on is successful. Let’s first start with asking, what is 20/20 vision about? 

WHAT DOES 20/20 MEAN TO PEOPLE?

The term 20/20 vision may mean different things to different people. For one, a phrase most of us are very familiar with is “hindsight is 20/20”, meaning: If you only had a better understanding of a situation, it might have turned out better or different. For others, a 2020 outlook could have meant a bright and perfect future.

Not too long ago, you may have been asked the question, what is your vision for 2020?  This question wasn’t about your eyesight, it was about your hopes, dreams, goals, and plans for the year 2020. As much as I hope those 2020 plans worked out well for you, that is not what I am talking about here – but let’s first talk about where 20/20 came from.

We all should ensure, that a child has a good vision!
Are you wondering what 20/20 vision is about?

THE ORIGIN OF 20/20 AS IT RELATES TO VISION

The origin of words is very interesting. What is the definition of origin? Thesaurus.com defines it as something from which anything arises or is derived; the first stage of existence, the beginning. So where did 20/20 come from?

The term 20/20 and similar fractions that we have come to know such as 20/40, 20/60, etc. are visual acuity measurements. They are also called Snellen fractions, named after a Dutch ophthalmologist, Herman Snellen, who in 1862, developed the Snellen chart. It was probably sometime after this date that this phrase, 20/20 came to the forefront.    

WHAT DO THE NUMBERS 20/20 MEAN?

Most of us have had an eye exam and have been told by the eye care professional after reading the chart that our vision is “twenty something”: 20/20, 20/10, 20/40, 20/100, etc.   This Snellen chart measures a person’s visual acuity at 20 feet using letters, symbols, or numbers called “optotypes”.

Somebody with 20/20 vision has normal acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision). This means, that if they were to stand at a distance of 20 feet from the eye chart, then they would be able to clearly see each row of letters.

If a person has 20/40 vision, then this would now mean that the person’s acuity is somewhat worse or not at best.  Someone with normal acuity could see those same letters with clarity at a distance of 40 feet as opposed to only seeing them at 20 feet. 

Plusoptix_Snellen Eye chart for a 20/20 vision
A Snellen chart measures a person’s visual acuity at 20 feet using letters, symbols, or numbers called “optotypes”.

OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS WHEN CONSIDERING 20/20 VISION

There are other very important factors that must be taken into consideration when we talk about 20/20 vision. 20/20 vision alone does not mean that a person has perfect vision. 20/20 vision only looks at the sharpness or clarity of vision at a specific test distance.

There are other very important vision skills that must be taken into account such as peripheral awareness (side vision), eye coordination, and focusing ability during a normal vision screening. 

VISION SCREENING WITH HOTV

Distance visual acuity testing using HOTV optotypes is part of typical vision screening guidelines. The Plusoptix vision screener (Models S16, S12C and S12R), can now effectively measure visual acuity in children using HOTV optotypes.

With HOTV critical line testing, Plusoptix devices offer comprehensive vision screening complying with AAP and PBA recommendations
With HOTV critical line testing, Plusoptix devices offer comprehensive vision screening complying with AAP and PBA recommendations

For children from the age of 5 years, instrument-based vision screening in combination with HOTV critical line testing can help improve findings by increasing sensitivity and thus reducing false-negative results. Children who pass instrument-based vision screening are to perform an HOTV critical line test at 20/32 to meet the requirements of typical state guidelines. The “critical line” is the age dependent line a child is expected to see normally and pass.

Incorporating this concept into screening procedures offers a quick and reliable assessment of visual acuity in young children (PEDIATRICS Volume 137, Number 1, January 2016). It is recommended to refer any child who did not pass the critical line test with either one or both eyes to an eye care professional for a comprehensive eye examination. 

PLUSOPTIX IS THE WORLD LEADER IN VISION SCREENING

Since 2001, Plusoptix has been developing, manufacturing and marketing medical measuring instruments for use by ophthalmologists and pediatricians. The entire development (hardware and software) and production takes place at the headquarters of the company in Nuremberg, Germany. Through distribution partners, the company’s devices are available in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Plusoptix strives to educate the parents about the importance and purpose of early vision screening for children. Parents should know that a modern technology is available that can be used not only to detect amblyopia, but to prevent it through screening.

Plusoptix offers state-of-the-art vision screening devices that enable primary healthcare providers to check a child's vision starting at the age of 5 months.
Plusoptix offers state-of-the-art vision screening devices that enable primary healthcare providers to check a child’s vision starting at the age of 5 months.

Summary: the best of 20/20 vision.

Proper vision screening techniques can determine if a child is having any difficulty with their eyesight. The importance of recognizing this sooner rather than later is important should any treatment be needed. Screening with the Plusoptix Vision Screener makes it possible to detect the most common vision disorders in children as early as possible.

Contact us at www.plusoptix.com for more information.

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