Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Skip Navigation LinksBoys Town National Research Hospital > Knowledge Center > Articles > Pediatric Ophthalmology > Testing Your Child’s Eyes at Home

 Testing Your Child’s Eyes at Home

Eye Test

If you notice that your child is suffering from some of the symptoms of vision problems, you may decide to test your child's eyes at home. Testing your child's eyes at home is not a substitute for a pediatric ophthalmologist's eye exam; however, a home test can help determine if you need to make an appointment for your child.

How to Do an At-Home Eye Test

Follow these steps to test your child's eyesight at home.

  1. Print or purchase a vision chart. For best results, the biggest letter on the chart should be nearly one inch tall.
  2. Tape the chart on a wall. Make sure that the chart is at your child's eye level while sitting.
  3. Place your child's chair ten feet away from the chart.
  4. Ask your child to cover one of his or her eyes. The cover doesn't have to be professional grade. It just needs to cover your child's eye completely, and your child should not be able to see through it. Make sure that your child doesn't peek out from behind the cover.
  5. Light the vision chart. To ensure proper lighting, consider using a flashlight or other light source to illuminate the chart. If your child cannot see the vision chart because of lighting problems, the at-home vision test will not be accurate.
  6. Have your child read each line of the chart. Point to the line you want your child to read. Write down which line of the chart is the last one that your child can read correctly.
  7. Repeat the process with your child's other eye covered. Record the other eye's results.

If your child wears glasses, be sure to have him or her wear them during testing. It is important that your child maintains his or her normal level of vision to get accurate test results.

Understanding the Eye Test Results

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the meaning of the test's results will vary according to your child's age.

  • Children below age 3 should be able to see the 20/40 line of the chart.
  • 3- and 4-year-olds should see the 20/30 line.
  • Children 5 and older should be able to read the 20/20 line of the chart.

You should be able to tell which line your child can read using the labels on the side of the vision chart.

If you find that your child's results are not normal for his or her age, make an appointment with a pediatric eye doctor, or ophthalmologist. Testing your child's eyes at home is a great way to gauge his or her vision, but it should never replace a trip to the ophthalmologist. A pediatric ophthalmologist will not only test your child's vision, but also your child's eye health.