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Strange Eye Exam Charts

Link - article by Simon Rose

Offbeat Optometry and Strange Seeing Eye Charts

Testing, testing... Can’t see what you want? Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place here at Dark Roasted Blend. This time, we’re casting our investigative gaze over some peculiar seeing eye charts (also called Snellen Charts), from the unusual or amusing to the bizarre and frankly just weird. So sit back and relax, and feast your eyes on these oddball examples from the world of optometry.

Here’s a very interesting chart that I’ve never seen during any of my visits to the optometrist’s office. It certainly seems to be designed to keep your attention focused until you reach the very bottom of the page. I wonder if there’s also an alternate chart, to assist female patients with their eye examinations?

(images via 1, 2)

In order to complete your eye exam, the optometrist always invites you to take a seat in that lovely chair near all the different testing frames and other equipment. And yet, unless it’s among those very small ones at the bottom, I don’t see an example of an optometrist’s chair, or even one you’d find at a dentist’s office, on this chart, do you? Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough? (right image above).


OMG, WTF and LMAO. Nice to see an optometrist chart that’s moved with the times a little. This one features some of the more familiar modern acronyms used online and in text conversations, perhaps in an attempt to make their patients feel more comfortable.

(images via 1, 2)

Right chart above: I don’t think poster this would be much use to actually test an officer’s vision, since all someone really has to do is recognize the pictures. Still, it might good for studying the menu before heading out for the day, in case you feel like a snack later on?


The tumbling E chart can be used in examinations with people who are unable to read the letters in the Latin alphabet and also with very small children. It contains rows of the letter "E" appears in a differently rotated position in each row. The patient just has to indicate if the letter is pointing left, right up or down, which maybe ensures extremely easy eye examinations:

(images via 1, 2)

This chart filled with images of hands can be used to test the vision of both preliterate and illiterate children, or indeed adults. It is also helpful during eye exams for people who speak multiple languages. All the patient has to do is tell the doctor which the hand is pointing when he asks them. You could say this is a handy thing to have around the optometrist’s office.


Here are some charts with a truly international flavor, allowing you to see the world in a whole new way. The symbols on the chart are characters taken from multiple languages and alphabets. If you think you recognize a few of these symbols or just want to test your knowledge of the Earth’s many spoken tongues, you can check out the legend for the chart here:

(images credit: Bytelevel, Richard Barz, "Ampersand ID Chart" letterpress printed by Douglas Wilson, via)

Still on the topic of international languages, the central image is vision-testing chart from New Delhi is in the Hindi script.

Even if you’re only dealing with one language, there can be a bewildering array of fonts in written text. The same letter or symbol might even resemble a foreign language rather than the one you’re most familiar with. This ampersand identification chart (right image above) would probably make you think you were seeing double or even triple, well before you reached the bottom row.


Science fiction fans would be pleased to observe this chart at their optometrist’s office. It features 36 characters and symbols derived from the logos of different games, comics and even movie titles. If you really think you’ve got a sci-fi eye, see how many you can get right.

(images credit: Bite.ca, Society6.com, via)

Also in the science fiction vein, if you ever wanted to work as a pilot for Planet Express in Futurama, you’d have to take an eye test using this chart. Not sure if the chart is designed for beings with one eye or two. Still, it would probably help if you knew the alien language on the chart though, before taking the test.


And how about this for a truly genuine eye chart? Here we have a selection of pairs of eyes from some of the world’s most well known cartoon characters. See how many you can recognize with your own keen eye:

(right image credit: David)

Here’s quite an amusing one (right image above), more of a nose chart than an eye chart, so I’m not sure if you’d find this on the wall at your optometrists. Entitled the Official Smell Exam Chart, based on nasal strength, at first glance, or maybe first sniff, it would seem to be a pretty accurate means of measuring your nose’s detection power.


This chart for cats only depicts mice, but you’d think it might have a few birds or other creatures on there as well? Especially since the dogs have so much variety on their chart:

(images credit: Cindy May, Erica St. John)

I guess dogs might just be required to bark when asked to identify each symbol. That is, if they can understand the vet’s instructions (right chart above).


We’ve all heard of Seeing Eye dogs, but here’s a kind of Seeing Eye bear, observed on the street in Berlin. If you used this for an eye test, you’d certainly be getting to the bottom of things when you arrived at the last row.

(images credit: David Curtis, Sandra Barron)

And finally (right image above): this machine also stands out on the street, this time in Tokyo, where you can check your own vision, with the help of a friendly face.

Article by Simon Rose for Dark Roasted Blend.



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Blogger Stefan Tzschentke said...

If eye exam charts were that interesting everywhere, people would probably go to their optometrists much less reluctantly.

Anonymous Steve said...

Ok I have to admit it I like the first chart best... :)

I have had glasses since I was 14 and would go more often if my optition use this one...


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