If You're Focused on 20/20, You Aren't Seeing the Whole Picture

December 3, 2017

What's the difference between a person's visual acuity and that same person's visual performance?  In the coming weeks, I'd like to answer this question and share some insights with you into how people see and what it really means to function well visually.  I hope you will find these short articles beneficial in understanding what your employees need to see their best.  


Most often when people think about vision, we think about "20-something" vision. The “20 number” when measured by your eye doctor is a measure of particular kind of vision. It’s a measure of “high contrast visual acuity.” That is, when looking at black letters on a white background, what is the smallest detail you can see?


This number does not measure how well a person sees in low light versus very bright situations. It does not tell us how well a person sees when contrast is poor, or when they are moving around or trying to follow a moving target, or when your eyes are watering because of high winds on a construction site. Using your eyes to navigate around and interact with the real world is visual performance.


While good visual acuity is important for good visual performance, it is certainly not the only thing we need to understand when we want to help people function optimally at work. In the coming weeks, I would like to share some insights into how contrast, glare, level of illumination, and types of glasses and contact lenses can impact not only visual acuity – the “20 number” – but also visual performance. 


Next week, I will address contrast. Until then, take a look around and notice how many visual tasks you perform in a day really involve "black on white" objects and how many involve much lower contrast.


If you have questions, never hesitate to ask. Complete Safety is a doctor-owned optical and visual performance company. We are dedicated to disseminating information on vision and eye wellness. We are always prepared to speak at your facility on topics related to eye health and visual performance at no charge to you.

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