The 20/20 experience By Kristina Oneill on March 19, 2013

No, I am not talking about Justin Timberlake's new album title.  I am talking about the meaning of it's title.  What is the 20/20 experience? Why do so many patients want to know that they WILL be corrected to 20/20? What does 20/20 actually mean?

"Normal" vision is 20/20. This means that the patient sees the same line of letters at 20 feet that a normal person sees at 20 feet. 20/40 vision means that the patient can see at 20 feet what a normal person sees at 40 feet. Another way of saying this is that a person with 20/40 vision has vision that is only half as good as normal - or, objects must be at half the normal distance for the see them. A person with 20/20 vision is able to see letters 1/10th as large as someone with 20/200 vision. However, 20/15 vision is better than 20/20. A person with 20/15 vision can see objects at 20 feet that a person with 20/20 vision can only see at 15 feet.  

Levels of Vision

20/20 - Normal vision. Fighter pilot minimum. Required to read the stock quotes in the newspaper, or numbers in the telephone book. 

20/40 - Able to pass Driver's License Test in all 50 States. Most printed material is at this level. 


20/80 - Able to read alarm clock at 10 feet. News Headlines are this size. 


20/200 - Legal blindness. Able to see STOP sign letters.


Hopefully this blog sheds a little light to you about the 20/20 experience which is to see life with normal, clear vision.  We strive to give all of our patients 20/HAPPY vision which is the best correction possible for that individual.  Surgeon experience and results are key in a LASIK or PRK procedure.  The type of prescription you have and the type of technology that is used for your surgery matter too.  Do your research, get educated on what to expect from your laser eye care provider!


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Dr. Andrew Holzman

Andrew E. Holzman, MD, FACS

Andrew E. Holzman, MD, FACS, is one of the most well-respected ophthalmologists in the greater Washington, DC, area. He is regularly sought out by professional athletes, media personalities, and other doctors for laser eye surgery. Dr. Holzman is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

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  • The International Society of Refractive Surgery

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