How to Test Your Own Eyesight

Written by krista sheehan
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Many people have a difficult time finding the time and money for regular visits to their eye doctor. Fortunately, there are a variety of eye tests you can do at home to test your eyesight. If any of the eye tests indicate a vision problem, it is important to speak with an eye doctor or health care professional as soon as possible. To do these eye tests, you should wear the contacts or eyeglasses that are currently prescribed for you.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Ruler
  • Snellen eye chart
  • Amsler grid
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

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  1. 1

    Take the Snellen eye test to determine your visual acuity, which is the ability of the eye to identify black symbols against a white background at a set distance. Snellen eye charts can be found online at a variety of websites, such as

    To take the Snellen eye test online, you will use a ruler to measure the length of the "E" at the top line of the chart. Multiply that number by 2.838. The number you get is the distance you need to sit away from your computer screen. Once you have moved to the proper distance, cover one eye and begin reading the letters, starting with the top line. Stop once you reach a line that you cannot read. The last line that you are able to read clearly is your visual acuity. Repeat the test with your other eye.

  2. 2

    Take the Amsler Grid eye test to identify any distortions in your visual field. The Amsler eye test can be found online at various websites, such as

    The Amsler test consists of a white grid against a black background. To take the test, sit about 18 inches away from the computer monitor and close one eye. Focus on the centre of the grid and peripherally observe the surrounding area. If any of the lines look distorted or bent, this could indicate that you have a problem with your retina, and you should make an appointment with an eye doctor for further examination.

  3. 3

    Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions developed by the British Columbia Association of Optometrists and the Association des Optometristes du Quebec.

    Do you read or examine objects at a close distance? Are your eyes consistently red? Do you watch television at a close distance of less than 6 feet? Are your eyes consistently tired, dry, burning or watering? Does squinting help you to see things at long distances? Do you feel the need to rub your eyes regularly?

    Are there any unusual movements in your eyes, such as one eye shifting to the centre? Does closing or covering one eye help you to see more clearly? Do you ever experience double vision? Do you commonly skip words or lines when you are reading? Do you ever inverse letters or numbers while reading?

    Do you bump into objects regularly or have difficulty with hand-eye or body-eye coordination? Do you suffer from regular headaches, especially while using a computer? Does your vision become more impaired at night?

    If you answered "yes" for five or more questions, you likely have a vision problem. If you answered "yes" for between one and four questions, it is possible that you have a vision problem. If you answered "no" to all questions, you probably do not have any vision problems.

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