Eye Chart

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William Germano links unlikely elements to the eye chart: art, medicine, literature, tattoos, contemporary merchandising, and more.

The creation of the eye chart by Herman Snellen in 1862 is thoroughly explained as well as the card used to test visual acuity for close reading, which was developed by Eduard Jaeger. The Snellen chart originally consisted of eleven lines made up of nine letters, but there have been variations created by others that were far more complicated.

One section of the book details the evolution of lenses and how today’s ophthalmologists determine the correct prescription for their patients.

Germano reminds us that “modern diagnosis is all about looking for the point of weakness,” so when we reach a point in the eye exam where we can no longer read the letters on the chart we should realize that this is the expected outcome. The book brings a fresh perspective to a subject that may have been perceived as mundane and that helps the reader appreciate the journey that preceded today’s eye chart and other tools for ophthalmologic diagnoses.


Reviewed By:

Author William Germano • Christopher Schaberg, Series Editor • Ian Bogost, Series Editor
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 160 pages
Publisher Bloomsbury Academic
Publish Date 2017-09-07
ISBN 9781947003378
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2019
Category Reference
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