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Distance Visual Acuity

Near Visual Acuity

Testing Vision

Recording Results

Refractive Error

Links &


Testing Vision

General Instructions

  1. Observe how the person uses vision, coming into the room or where you are testing

  2. Examine the eyes- what unhealthy signs do you see?

  3. Take a history related to eyes and vision.
    Ask the person or family questions such as:
    When was poor vision first noticed?
    Does anyone else in your family have poor vision? What is the cause?
    Have you had any treatment for poor vision?
    Do you have glasses or contact lenses? When should they be used?
    What can you tell me about your vision?

  4. Decide which test to use.
    matching symbols and/or naming symbols

    Establish how to communicate with the person being tested

    • matching symbols
    • pointing directions
    • naming symbols

    This will depend on age. Children from 5 years of age can do the E test. Symbols or numbers can be used for younger children. Children who cannot name symbols or numbers can use a 'matching card'.

  5. Language. The E test is useful for people who cannot read and if you do not speak the same language as the person being tested. It is also useful to use with people who are hearing impaired or deaf. You can explain how to do the test using imitation.

    E Chart

  6. Teach how to do the test

  7. Test distance acuity

    a. both eyes

    b. Right and left eye separately, if needed

    c. If needed, use pinhole
    both eyes or R & L separately if needed

    d. Record findings

    Note: Read the test instructions of each test carefully

    Testing distance visual acuity

  8. Test near visual acuity
    both eyes together
    Tell the person to hold the card where the E's are clearest
    Record the smallest size read and the distance that the card is held from the eyes


Can the E test be used with people with poor hearing?

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