Distance vision test for younger children

This test will measure your child's distance vision in each eye.


Before you do this test with your child, you should know the difference between an eye check or test and an eye exam performed by an eye doctor.

What you will need ► What you will need ▼

  • a well-lit room a minimum of 10 feet long
  • an assistant, if possible
  • a paper cup
  • tape
  • pencil and paper
  • ruler or tape measure

Instructions ► Instructions ▼

1. Print the HOTV chart.

(You will need Adobe Reader to print the eye chart. Adobe Reader is a free program).

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader

Note About Printers:

This test requires you to print the HOTV chart. The appearance of your printed chart may vary depending on the printer you are using. We have provided a one inch scale reference at the bottom of the chart. In order to get valid eye test results, the scale square should be one inch. Please measure to make sure. If your chart won't print correctly, contact Prevent Blindness America, and we will send you a copy of the HOTV chart.

2. Important note: Before your child can successfully complete the Distance Vision Test for Younger Children, he or she should play the practice game to learn how to respond correctly. It's a simple way to teach children how to respond to the HOTV chart.

3. Tape the first page of the chart to a bare wall with no windows. The chart should be at your child's eye level (about 36 to 40 inches from the floor).Tape the first page of the chart to a bare wall with no windows. The chart should be at your child's eye level (about 36 to 40 inches from the floor).

4. Measure 10 feet away and place a strip of masking tape on the floor. Have your child stand with his or her heels on the tape.

5. If your child already has glasses, they should be worn during the test.

6. Ask the assistant to hold the cup over your child's left eye. If no assistant is available, show your child how to hold the cup over his or her left eye. Don't let your child peek!

7. Sit down next to the eye chart.

8. Point to each of the letters from left to right starting with the largest line. Have your child tell you which letter your are pointing to. Praise your child for each response. (Note: if your child can't or won't tell you what the letters are, you can teach the child to use the response card (page 2 of the chart) to point to and "match" what they see on the wall chart.

9. Continue moving through the chart to the smallest letter your child is able to read with the right eye.

A child passes a line when he or she can correctly read at least 3 out of 5 letters.

10. Write down the lowest line on the chart that your child passed.

11. Repeat the same steps with the child's right eye covered.

12. Write down the lowest line on the chart that your child passed with the left eye.

What the results mean ► What the results mean ▼

The visual system is still developing in children ages 3 through 5. Children in this age range should be able to read the 20/40 line with each eye. Some 3 to 5 year-olds may be able to read the 20/32 or even the 20/20 line. However, if the vision is unequal between the two eyes, (for example 20/20 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left eye) it could lead to serious vision problems.

A child passed the test if:

He or she passed the 20/40 line with each eye, or

He or she passed the 20/32 line with each eye, or

He or she passed the 20/20 line with each eye

A child should be taken to an eye doctor for an eye exam if:

He or she was unable to read the 20/40 line with either eye, or

He or she had unequal vision between the eyes - such as 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 or worse in the other eye.