Main Page Content

An important part of an eye exam is checking vision - how well a child can see on an eye chart.

While it may be hard to visit your eye doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some at home vision tests that can be used, if you think your child may have an eye problem. These tests do not replace a complete eye exam with an optometrist.

Don’t forget to write down your child’s vision in their right eye and their left eye, so you can share the information with an eye doctor, at your child’s next visit.

General instructions

  1. Practice first. For younger children, stand close to your child and practice using both eyes together before trying to measure the vision with one eye at a time. Make sure they understand the “game” before you start.
  2. If they have glasses, please make sure they are wearing them during the test.
  3. Be positive. Do not give your child any hints, but encourage them to do their best. Don’t let them give up early.
  4. No peeking! Make sure your child’s eye is fully covered with a patch or the palm of your hand. Watch out for peeking.
  5. To properly check their vision, your child will need to be exactly 10 feet (3 metres) away from the testing area. Here are three ways to can measure 10 feet (3 metres), using:
    • A tape measure
    • An app called “Measure” on iOS or Android
    • Sheets of paper (11 sheets end to end)

Vision test options

Children younger than 6 years (or if they do not know their letters)

Set up:
  • Print out the vision chart.
  • Make sure that the distance between lines is 2.5 inches (see guide on sheet)
  • Fold the chart so the letters are on the outside and secure with a paper clip.
  • Print the matching card.
  • Watch video guide for reference
  • Place a chair at the end of the room and measure 10 feet (3 metres) from the back of the chair.
  • Give your child the matching guide (if needed) and practice the test.
  • If your child wears glasses, put them on.
  • Cover the child’s left eye with the palm of your hand (or if you have a patch, put it over your child’s left eye).
  • Stand 10 feet (3 metres) away and randomly spin the chart and point to the first letter under the black line (20/40).
  • The child can point to the matching letter or say the letter out loud.
  • If they can identify the letter, move to the next smallest letter. If they cannot read it, go up a line.
  • Record the smallest size of letters your child can read more than half of the time (i.e., more than 50% of the time). Record how reliable you think the vision test was from 1 (low) to 5 (high).
  • Repeat the test for the other eye. Record how reliable you think the vision test was from 1 (low) to 5 (high).

Children 6 years or older (or for children that know their letters)

Related Content: 
Last modified: 
Tuesday, December 13, 2022 - 2:20pm