Does Having 20/20 Vision Mean Healthy Eyes?

I’m asked all the time why a person needs an eye exam. They say “I see fine,” or “I passed the driver’s license eye test. Isn’t that enough?” Many adults feel if they pass a vision screening, their eyes are healthy. They also believe their children’s eyes are fine if they pass a vision screening at the pediatrician’s office or at school. If you share the same beliefs, I would like to clear up some common misconceptions.

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Does Having 20/20 Vision Mean Healthy Eyes?
Does Having 20/20 Vision Mean Healthy Eyes?

I’m asked all the time why a person needs an eye exam. They say  “I see fine,” or “I passed the driver’s license eye test. Isn’t that enough?” Many adults feel if they pass a vision screening, their eyes are healthy. They also believe their children’s eyes are fine if they pass a vision screening at the pediatrician’s office or at school. If you share the same beliefs, I would like to clear up some common misconceptions.

A recent survey by a major eye care company shows there are a lot of misconceptions regarding vision and eye health. The key findings show:

  • 44% respondents believe they don’t need an eye test unless there is a problem
  • 42% said they believe that as long as they can see, their eyes must be healthy
  • Almost 4 in 10 believe the only reason to go to an eye doctor is for vision corrections
  • 30% said, “If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not serious” 

The Need for Annual Eye Exams

Eye exams detect much more than how far down you can see on the eye chart. A comprehensive eye exam involves testing for glaucoma and other eye diseases. Having 20/20 vision or reading the bottom line on the eye chart does not mean you have healthy eyes. For example, you can have 20/20 vision even in the late stages of glaucoma. 

Eye exams are also important to your child’s learning. More than 70% of everything a child learns is visual, so it is important for kids to get comprehensive eye exams that check the entire visual system. A simple eye screening does not measure the eye’s focusing ability, eye teaming, and eye muscle function. A full eye exam will make sure that the child has all the tools needed for a positive learning experience.

Blurry vision may also be a sign of underlying medical conditions. Jack Osborne, son of music celebrity Ozzy’Osborne, experienced painless blurry vision. He eventually was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. So, regular eye exams can help maintain wellness in your eyes – and your life.

Provided by Linda Chous, O.D. Dr. Linda Chous has more than 20 years of experience in private practice and is a specialist in pediatric optometry. She is past president of the Minnesota Optometric Association. As the Chief Eye Care Officer for United Healthcare, she provides clinical leadership for the advancement and delivery of eye care wellness and disease management programs.

Blog written by UHC Smart Patient
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