Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
Here’s the information you need on “How to do a Vision Screening from Home.”
Completing a vision screening from home is easier than you might think. You do need some technology and simple materials in order to complete the screening.
Note: The eye chart used in this particular vision screening is designed for individuals old enough to recognize the letters of the alphabet. If you want to test younger children you must print an eye chart consisting of pictures or shapes a child would recognize.
You need the following technology to complete a vision screening from home - a computer connected to the Internet and a printer. I have a Dell laptop computer connected to high speed cable TV Internet and a Hewitt Packard “All-In-One” printer.
You need the following materials to complete the vision screening:
1. Print out a copy of a Snellen eye chart – I used eight and one-half by eleven printer paper and the eye chart printed out missing one letter in the row of letters used for the screening therefore, you may want to use paper larger than a regular sheet of paper. The chart is usable for the screening with some small adjustments.
2. A yard stick or tape measure capable of measuring ten feet.
3. A chair for the person to sit in while taking the test.
4. A well-lit room without glare from windows or other forms of light.
5. A method for hanging the eye chart on the wall or other area such as tape or wall tack. Note: position the eye chart on the wall equal to the level of the person’s eyes taking the screening.
6. An instrument to point to the row of letters you want the person to read – a flashlight, ruler or laser pointer works well for helping the person locate where to start reading letters.
7. Pen/pencil with paper for recording the results of the person taking the screening.
8. The person taking the screening may simply cover one eye with a hand, tissue or piece of paper/cardboard when testing the other eye. Note: Always test each eye one eye at a time for best results.
Begin by printing out a copy of the Snellen Eye chart and hanging at eye-level on a wall that is well-lit. Using the tape measure/ruler measure a ten foot distance from the eye chart. Place the front of a straight back chair at the ten foot line. Instruct the person to sit in the chair and cover the left eye. Using a pointer or simply walk to the side of the eye chart and using your finger point to the 20/20 line. Instruct the person to begin reading the letters out loud from left to right. If the person correctly reads all of the letters in the 20/20 line with the right eye and then the left eye the test is over and the person has great vision. If the person misses one letter in the 20/20 line instruct them to begin reading the next line)point to the first letter from left to right in the next line). When a screener reads a line without missing one of the letters then that line is the person’s score on the eye exam for that eye. If the person wear glasses the person should take the test wearing the glasses. If the person cannot read the 20/20 line they should be on the safe side and have an eye exam from an eye doctor. If the person experiences trouble focusing the letters, squints, leans forward or reverses letters such as the letter “M” and “W” you should suggest the person have a comprehensive eye exam. If the person reads the 20/20 line correctly with the right eye but struggles with the left eye they may have a more serious eye problem such as a lazy eye. Note: You should not give them a diagnoses but simply instruct them to have an eye exam from an eye doctor. If the person is a family member you should take your family member to the eye doctor especially if they have not received an eye exam in more than one or two years.
**Step by step directions, links to eye charts(both adult and children) and a list of materials for completing a home eye test can be found on the American Academy of Ophthalmology website at:
I do not recommend a vision screening in place of a comprehensive eye exam. A vision screening does not identify serious eye conditions such as Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration or other internal eye structure damage. You should have a complete eye exam every two years unless conditions warrant yearly eye exams. Play it safe and protect your vision by having your eyes tested.