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Eyesight and Vision – What’s the Difference?

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Did you know there is a difference between eyesight and vision? Having 20/20 eyesight does not mean you have perfect vision. Eyesight and vision go hand in hand, so it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly and to identify problems as soon as possible.

What is Eyesight?

Eyesight — also called visual acuity — is only a number, an indication of how clear your sight is.  It is measured using the letters on the letter chart at the eye doctor’s office. Eyesight is measured as the number 20 over another number (20/20, 20/30, 20/50, 20/80, and so on). 20/20 is generally considered the measurement of clear eyesight.

The higher the second number, the worse your sight is, and glasses or contact lenses are needed in order to improve eyesight. The image that is seen is then transferred to the brain, where vision happens.

What is Vision?

Unlike eyesight, vision is the process of understanding and analyzing an image — what we see, where it is, and how to react to it. Vision requires our eyes to be functioning well, and this relies on eye muscle strength and how the brain processes the information arriving from the eyes.  Vision is a more dynamic and interactive process. It is the whole information processing system developed through experience to gain an understanding of the external visual space world.

In a nutshell, eyesight can be compared to the hardware of the computer, whereas vision is the software.

Why is this important? In many cases, patients with vision problems can still have ‘perfect’ 20/20 eyesight, yet they experience problems that need attention from an eye doctor.

Examples of Eyesight Problems

  • Nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia)
  • Astigmatism
  • Presbyopia

Examples of Vision Problems

  • Binocular vision dysfunction
  • Lazy eye (amblyopia)
  • Eye turn (strabismus)
  • Eye strain or eye fatigue
  • Colour blindness

Most people understand how important it is to protect their eyes since their quality of life will be severely diminished if they lose their eyesight. Many eye diseases are age-related, so anyone over 60, or with a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure, should make a special effort to schedule a regular eye exam.

Regardless of your age, it’s important to make an immediate appointment if you notice any changes, such as blurry vision, double vision, eye pain, floaters, or flashes of light. An early diagnosis of diseases that threaten your sight can help prevent permanent loss of vision.

Schedule your yearly eye exam with James Tracey Eye Care to protect your eyes.

James Tracey Eye Care serves patients from and Wyckoff, throughout New York.