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You’ve probably seen an eye chart hanging on the wall of an optometrist’s office or hanging up in your primary care doctor’s office at some point in your life. Because they are so good at assessing someone’s eyesight, these charts are and have always been very popular. In this blog, we’ll explain all there is to know about eye charts and how they may be used to assist professionals in assessing your level of vision.

How Do Eye Charts Work?

The first eye chart was created in 1862 by Dutch ophthalmologist Dr. Herman Snellen to assess binocular and monocular visual acuity. Although there are other eye charts, Snellen eye charts are still the most popular among eye care professionals.

Your eye doctor uses eye charts to assess your visual acuity—how clear or fuzzy your vision is. The eye doctor can determine if you need eyeglasses, contact lenses, or another kind of eye correction based on the findings of your test using the chart.

What Is The Snellen Eye Chart?

This eye chart is the most popular and was probably used during your most recent eye exam. The only standardized eye chart used by ophthalmologists is the Snellen chart. It mostly entails eleven rows of capital letters being used, with the letters becoming smaller as you go down each row. To determine which lines on the chart you can read without reading glasses, you typically stand 20 feet away from it.

Many more non-standard eye charts exist, such as the Lea Symbols, the Landolt C chart, and the ETDRS chart, although they are used less commonly since their accuracy in determining visual acuity has not been established just yet.

Are All Eye Charts The Same?

There are several kinds of eye charts available and used by professionals. While some charts employ text, others utilize patterns or images. For assessing distant vision and close vision, eye care professionals may utilize different charts. While some eye charts are designed specifically for kids, others are appropriate for both kids and adults. The most popular and well-known eye chart, however, is the Snellen eye chart that we’ve previously mentioned.

The Importance Of Visual Acuity

One of the first steps in a thorough eye exam at an optometrist is likely to include measuring your visual acuity.

A crucial step in seeing warning signals of vision issues is this visual acuity exam. For instance, it may identify refractive errors, or nearsightedness and farsightedness, more regularly. When your eyesight is keen at a distance but fuzzy up close, you have hyperopia also known as farsightedness. The opposite is myopia or nearsightedness, where your near vision may be sharp but your distant vision is blurry. ‌

The Function Of Eye Charts

The eye chart is supported by a significant body of knowledge that dates back more than 100 years. At the top of the chart, they begin with a single, huge letter E. The letters in the lines below become progressively smaller until only those with eyesight greater than 20/20 can read them. The letters’ size was carefully determined to approximate flawless conformance to the 20/20 visual norm.

Even the letter kinds used are picked with care. You’ll notice that an eye chart doesn’t include every letter of the alphabet the next time you look at one. C, D, E, F, L, N, O, P, T, and Z are the only letters utilized. This is due to the fact that the human brain can recognize certain letters even when they are too blurry to be viewed properly. The letter Q serves as an illustration of this. There are no other letters like it, thus the brain can distinguish it by focusing on the shadow of the tail that comes off of it.

What Does An Eye Chart Actually Measure?

Typically, a Snellen eye chart is used to assess someone’s eyesight. These charts help quantify how well you can see from different distances. Your 20/20 vision is determined by the results of gazing at an eye chart. Many individuals wrongly think that 20/20 vision is the greatest possible eyesight. It’s conceivable for your eyesight to be much better since 20/20 vision is really considered to be normal.

Your eye doctor will ask you to read single letters spread over many lines before beginning a thorough eye examination. Up until you reach the bottom of the eye chart, each row of lines on the eye chart grows progressively thinner. You may be sure that your visual acuity is excellent if you can read some or all of the letters in the bottom row.

It’s crucial to realize that a 20-foot distance is the norm for an eye exam. When someone says you have 20/20 vision, they are referring to your vision at a distance of 20 feet, which is precisely how normal vision would be.

Simply put, this eye chart aids your doctor in identifying whether or not you have problems reading the letters. This chart helps the doctor determine how blurry your vision becomes at different points and if you have problems reading from a distance or up close.

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