Will Herman Snellen Be at Your Next Eye Exam? - Smart Vision Labs

Okay, maybe you have never heard of Herman Snellen, but his eye chart is legendary. Snellen was a Dutch ophthalmologist who introduced the Snellen chart to study visual acuity in 1862. You’ve seen the chart many times; it’s the one on the wall with the large letter ‘E’ at the top.

Visual Acuity

Visual acuity is a measurement of how clear your vision is. A standard eye chart has formed the basis of this test for a very long time. It’s also how we got the expression: 20/20 vision.

20/20 vision is more accurately 20/20 visual acuity. This is considered “normal” vision, which means that a person can read at 20 feet a letter that most human beings should be able to read at 20 feet. Sounds easy, right? It is actually, and the letters on the chart are a certain size for that specific reason.

Here’s an example of the math behind this eye chart. If all you could read on the chart was the big letter E at the top, and none of the letters below it, your vision would be 20/200. That means you can read at a distance of 20 feet, a letter that people with normal vision could read at 200 feet. Your vision acuity would be 20/200 and would be considered very poor.

To have 20/20 vision acuity, you would need to be able to read the line of letters that are fourth from the bottom on the eye chart.

Since not everyone can do that, corrective lenses are sometimes prescribed. An exam can uncover the degree of vision acuity you have and can adequately address it with eyeglasses.

Herman Snellen and Smartphones

A Smart Vision Exam is one way to do determine your visual acuity. This test takes the idea that Herman Snellen developed and added today’s technology to improve it. Think of it as the standard eye chart meeting the power of smartphone connectivity.

This eye test can still determine if you have 20/20 vision or not, but it gives you the results in a more efficient way. The Smart Vision Labs technology has packed several eye measurements into one device. You will be screened to see if you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism.

The scan and photos of your eyes will be accessed by an eyecare professional who will receive this data electronically at a remote location. If you are experiencing less than perfect acuity, it may be determined that corrective lenses may help you.

Herman Snellen may be quite pleased to see how his eye chart has evolved thanks to technology. Although the principles he introduced to measure vision acuity are still used, they are determined through a more convenient and efficient way. That’s progress that can benefit all of us.

Now, instead of facing the wall and looking at the large letter E, you can let the wonders of technology ‘see’ into your eyes and gather important data.

Having your eyes checked just got a lot Easier, and, yes, that is easier with a capital E.


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