Routine eye exams are necessary to insure the health of your eyes and prevent conditions that may be harmful to your vision. However, there is another way to monitor your vision without making a trip to the optometrist.
Here are a few simple exams you can do at home without making an appointment with the eye doctor. Whether you wear glasses or a contacts brand, keep in mind that these exams are meant to test your vision between routine eye exams and are by no means an assessment or prevention of eye disease. If you find you need to update your contact lens prescription, you can always buy contacts for a discount here.
1. Ishihara Color Vision Test
Named after the Japanese ophthalmologist, Dr. Shinobu Ishihara, the Ishihara Color Vision Test was developed to detect color blindness in 1917. This color perception test was so accurate and successful it is still used today. This color vision test uses a set of 38 plates, called Ishihara plates, to detect color vision defect. These plates contain assortments of dots in randomized color and size. After only a few plates, color blindness can be detected and screened fairly quickly.
You can take an Ishihara color blindness online test here or purchase your own set of plates here.
2. Online Vision Tests
If you find yourself on vacation and happen to lose your glasses at the beach, you can always take an online vision test to quickly obtain a valid prescription for a new pair of eyeglasses or contacts. Online vision test are helpful when you cannot schedule an appointment with an eye care doctor and provide technologies to monitor vision and refractive error. Online test also provide the convenience of doing them in home saving time and money. Remember, there is always a risk for administering your own online vision tests.
Opternative is just one of many online options you can use to test your prescription using your smartphone or computer.
3. Snellen Eye Chart / LogMAR Chart
The Dutch ophthalmologist, Herman Snellen, created the Snellen eye chart in 1862 to measure visual acuity. Further improved and developed, the LogMAR Chart was designed by the National Vision Research Institute of Australia to more accurately quantify visual acuity pushing for the standardization of eye exams. You can use either chart by having it eye-level on a wall and standing 20 feet away from the wall. Covering one eye, read each line keeping track of which letters and row you recognize.
You can take the Snellen Eye exam here.
4. Visual Acuity Tests
There are a couple vision tests online that can all be done from your computer screen or smartphone. Choices range from astigmatism, myopia, and even the Ishihara test. Corrective refractive errors are important to keep the eye in good health and produce as little strain as possible on the muscles that surround the eye. Conditions such as farsightedness, the inability to focus on near objects due to light rays focusing beyond the retina and nearsightedness, the condition where the light rays fall short of the retinal focus, can easily be corrected with a pair of prescribed eyeglasses. We recommend the app Essilor for a variety of different eye tests.
5. Binocular (3D) Vision / Depth Perception Test
Depth Perception is the ability of the eye to see the world in three dimensions and determine the distances between objects. You can take this depth perception test by holding your finger in front of this circle. First focus, on the circle. You should see the circle clearly although your finger may seem transparent or blurry. Next, focus on your finger. You should see your finger clearly while the circles split in two transparent green circles next to your finger.
For more details on how to take the exam check here.
6. Testing Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a common eye condition where a deviation in the shape of the spherical curve of the cornea or lens causes blurred or distorted images. Light rays are unable to meet at a common focus and thus vision at all distances is unclear. To test for astigmatism at home click here or take a look at the image below with your glasses or contact lenses on. Covering one eye, sit 14 inches from your computer and observe the lines. Check with the other eye. If the lines are sharp and dark, you do not have astigmatism. However, if some lines appear darker or sharper than others while some are lighter and blurry, see an optician for confirmation.
7. Blind Spot
Everyone has a blind spot. The human eye has limitations and this is where the optic nerve meets the retina. This will create a dark spot which the brain fills by looking at its surroundings. To find your blind spot cover your left eye and look at the dot on the left. Focusing on the dot, move closer and farther away to the screen. At some point, you should see the plus sign disappear. Then stare at the cross with your right eye closed. The dot should disappear as will any doubt you might of had in your blind spot.
8. Eye Exercises
To strengthen your eyes and sharpen your vision, there are a multitude of exercises available with no equipment needed. With a variety of apps available, work out your eyes just 5 minutes a day in the comfort of your own home. An easy exercise is to rub your palms together to create heat and hold them over your eyes for 10 seconds to warm them. Contrary to popular belief, rolling your eyes can actually be good for you, as well as mini-naps and temple-massages.
For more eye exercises check these out.
9. Macular Degeneration
The leading cause of vision loss is Macular Degeneration. This condition is more prevalent than cataracts and glaucoma combined affecting more than 10 million Americans. The center of the retina is called the macula. It’s primary focus is to centralize vision in the eye and controls our ability to see detail, read, drive, etc. When the macula deteriorates, vision is blurred and can lead to legal blindness. Take this test to test your vision for any potential signs of macular degeneration.
10. Watch a Movie
Whether you set up a movie at home or head to the theatres, check how your eyes adapt to darkness to test your eyesight. By setting up a home theatre or entering a dark movie theatre, you should be able to see the room clearly in a matter of moments. After turning the lights back on or leaving the theatre, this should also be the case. If your eyes take more than one minute to adjust, this may indicate weak darkness adaptability signifying a potential risk for Vitamin A deficiency.
These basic tests of your vision can be shared with your friends and family members at home. If you feel troubled by your results, make sure to book at appointment with your local ophthalmologist.
These tests are by no means meant to serve as a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam. An annual check-up in person with an eye care professional is recommended to prevent conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or cataracts that may cause legal blindness. Make sure to see your doctor face-to-face for a routine eye check-up to ensure a complete exam. Although these eye tests may be fun and do have value, always remember, eye health goes beyond vision.
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