Eye Exam Chart

Last updated: October 25, 2012 by Ashley

An eye exam chart, otherwise known as a Snellen chart is chart with letters usually used by ophthalmologist to roughly determine a person’s ability to see, which is referred to as “visual acuity“.

Snellen chart was named after a Dutch ophthalmologist, Herman Snellen, who developed the chart in 1862. Other types of commonly used eye charts include the Landolt C, and the Lea test.

Acuity is calculated by the subject standing at a standard distance of 20 feet from the chart and reading the letters aloud until he is unable to read the letters on a given row accurately. A visual acuity score of 20/20 is considered as normal vision, while scores of 20/32 or 20/40 indicates the presence of significant but low-power refractive errors.

If you want to test your eyesight at home, feel free to download the printable eye exam chart and follow the instruction below.

How to Use the Eye Exam Chart At Home

  1. Place the chart on a wall at least 20 feet away from where you stand.
  2. Test one eye at a time and cover the other eye with your hand or a light object.
  3. Starting from the top, read the letters from left to right for as far down as you can possibly do.
  4. The lowest line that you can read correctly is your visual acuity.
  5. If you are nearsighted, your vision will become clearer the closer you stand to the eye chart.

Note that this should not be taken as a substitute for a complete medical eye examination by an ophthalmologist, but it may help you discover a vision problem that can be corrected if discovered and treated early.


Don’t take your vision for granted. If you’re struggling with the cost of eye exam, you can either use the above eye exam chart to test your eyesight or alternatively, locate any of the free eye exam programs in your area.

Update: You can also download eye exam charts from National Eye Institute.