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Home » Your Eye Health » Eye Exams » Common Tests » Snellen Chart

Snellen Chart

The projected or wall-mounted Snellen eye chart is a common visual acuity test used to measure your sharpness of vision at multiple distances.

The letters on the Snellen Chart are calibrated to test the clarity of your vision. During an eye examination, you will view the Snellen Chart on a digital screen.

Handheld versions of Snellen charts are used for testing near vision as well.

By viewing or reading each line from top to bottom (with one eye covered at a time), your eye doctor can gain a general approximation of the quality of your visual acuity, or sharpness. Where a line of characters begin to become difficult to see is the approximate measurement of your vision.

The Snellen chart serves as a beginning—not an end—to a comprehensive eye examination.

What does 20/20 vision mean?

Snellen charts help to determine a baseline for your vision in each eye—a baseline typically measured against 20/20 vision. This means when you are 20 feet away from an object, you can comfortably see details that most people with normal vision can also see at 20 feet distance.

If you have 20/30 vision, that means what you see comfortably at 20 feet, can be seen by a person with normal vision at 30 feet. Your vision is weaker, in other words.

Conversely? In the rare instances where vision may test better than normal on a Snellen chart, a value of 20/10 vision means that you can see clearly from a distance of 20 feet, what a person with normal vision sees well at a distance of 10 feet. Make sense?

In fact, if you look closely at a Snellen eye chart, you’ll see the vision values associated with measuring your vision on the right or left side of each line of characters.

 

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

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