We must act now to stop the 2020 metaphors

As we enter the 2010’s a horrible spectre is before us – the year 2020 and the inevitable sickening overuse of 2020 vision/2020 hindsight in articles about the decade. We are seeing it already.

Human nature being what it is, I can’t imagine we’re going to actually be able to convince journalists, bloggers and common folk to avoid using an obvious, easy and cheesy metaphor. But I have come up with a solution – and I am hoping you will all join me on this crusade.

We have to change the scale used for visual acuity. The 20’s in 20/20 refer to the distance at which the person in question (numerator) and average person (denominator) can distinguish two objects in a standard visual test. Thus 20/40 is worse than average, 20/10 better. But there’s not a compelling reason to express these results this way – indeed many countries use a straight decimal scale where 20/20 = 1.0 (20/40 = 0.5; 20/10 = 2.0). In many ways this makes more sense. And if we can make the change quickly, we can save ourselves from the 2020 metaphors.

Please join me! I’ll be outside the Berkeley Eye Clinic on the 20th of every month.

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