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How Your Optometrist Measures Visual Acuity

Last updated 6 years ago

Regular visits to your optometrist are an essential part of maintaining good vision and overall health. Many vision problems are asymptomatic at first—and early diagnosis is important for preventing damage to your vision. To thoroughly check the status of your visual health, your optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye exam. One of the factors that your doctor uses to evaluate your vision is the visual acuity exam.  

The Test

To determine a patient’s visual acuity, the optometrist will ask you to read letters of various sizes from a certain distance away. This test determines the acuity of each eye written as a fraction. In this fraction, the top number designates the distance at which the test is performed (twenty feet) and the bottom number designates the smallest letter size you could read. A patient with 20/40 vision would have to be 20 feet from an object that could normally be seen from 40 feet away. The normal fraction for visual acuity is 20/20, meaning a patient can see an object clearly at twenty feet that should be seen sharply at that distance.

Other Vision Concerns

Although having 20/20 vision means that you have sharpness or clarity of vision, it does not mean that you can see perfectly. There are many other aspects to good vision, including peripheral (side) vision, depth perception, focusing ability, eye coordination, and color vision. To determine your visual health in these areas, your optometrist will perform many other tests.

At Wize Eyes, we are open seven days a week to measure your visual acuity and help you to choose the perfect eyewear for yourself or for your children. If you have any remaining questions about the process or would like to schedule an eye exam, visit one of our six Long Island locations or contact us at (631) 351-4900.


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