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Seeing 20/20


We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.

If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.


You have most likely run into the terms visual acuity and twenty-twenty vision. Yet, do people know what these terms actually mean? Understanding them will help you appreciate how an eye specialist evaluates your vision during an eye exam.

20/20 is used to indicate the accuracy of vision from 20 feet away. If you have 20/20 vision, that means that from a distance of 20 feet you can clearly see what normal-sighted people can see from that distance. So, 20/100 vision indicates that you would need to be as close as 20 feet away to see what a normal-sighted person can see from 100 feet away. Obviously, in this scenario, it would mean that you would be pretty near sighted.

Each eye is evaluated on its own. When the optometrist asks you to read the letters on the eye chart aloud, the smallest row that you are able to read properly determines the visual acuity of the eye being evaluated.

It's important to recognize that 20/20 eyesight actually doesn't mean that your eyesight is flawless, because, after all, it can only judge how accurately you see at a distance. There are several other important vision skills; being able to focus on close objects, contrast sensitivity, peripheral awareness, eye coordination, depth perception and color vision - these are all really important to your overall vision. Furthermore, a patient with 20/20 vision can certainly have plenty of other eye-related health problems. Those with damage to the retina as a result of diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or a range of other conditions can still have 20/20 vision, without the help of glasses. For this reason, your eye care professional always performs a comprehensive eye exam, and not just a plain eye chart test.

When you're having your next eye exam, you'll know exactly why we're asking you to read letters from the eye chart, and more!