Sitting at a restaurant a couple of days ago, I realized that I couldn’t make out the specials written on the chalk board on the wall across from me. Had my vision gotten worse or was the chalk lettering too small? Searching through the Market, I came across Vision Test – your new on-the-go eye doctor. Find out about conducting a vision test with your Android phone in today’s test.
Features & Use
I’ve been wearing glasses for as long as I can remember, so frequent visits to the eye doctor are a must for me. Although I’ve had the same pair of glasses for over two years now, I began to wonder whether my vision had in fact worsened after realizing I was the only one in a group of friends that couldn’t read special written on a board at my favorite Thai restaurant. A friend of mine that happens to be a doctor recommended I try checking my vision using the Vision Test app.
Before you can proceed with the tests, you have to acknowledge the fact that this app does not in any way replace a regular eye exam done by a licensed optician.
The app includes the following four tests:
- Visual Acuity Test (regular vision test)
- Astigmatism Test (checks for astigmatism)
- Duochrome Test (tests your ability to focus)
- Colour Test (checks for color-blindness)
A detailed explanation for each test appears before you begin the actual test. For all tests it is required that you wear your glasses or contacts during the test. Also, you need to make sure to hold your phone at arm’s length from your eyes in order to get accurate results. Except for the Colour Test, you’ll need to start off each test with your right eye covered and switch halfway through.
In the Visual Acuity Test, you are displayed a series of black letters ranging from large to small similar to a regular eye exam at your optician’s office. At the end of the test, you receive a percentage score for each eye. Scoring 100% means having 20/20 or nearly-perfect vision.
For the Astigmatism Test, you have to be able to tell whether certain black lines are darker than others in a shape. This lets you know how good your eyes are at focusing.
The Duochrome Test is extremely similar to the Astigmatism Test, but adds an element of color. Here you have to be able to make the contrast of black lines on red and blue backgrounds.
Finally, the Colour Test is aimed at testing for color-blindness by displaying numbers in colorful doted circles. If you cannot see the numbers, there is a good chance that you are color-blind.
After you’ve completed all your tests, the app allows you to search for eye doctors in your area. Unfortunately, the search is limited to a mysterious category of Varilux Consultant Opticians (VCOs). The app failed to find a single certified VCO eye doctor in the entire New York City Area. That’s ridiculous and unacceptable! After a little bit of research online, I realized that Varilux was a brand of high-end lenses and contacts made by a company named Essilor.
In other words, this feature is a blatant ad for Essilor and should be ignored.
The ability to do a quick eye exam on the go is a great way to check up on your vision. The Vision Test app does a marvelous job of allowing people to check for the most common eye conditions in a couple of clicks. In my opinion, these kinds of apps expose the full potential of smartphones. Unfortunately, you can only really conduct these tests on yourself once because they simply repeat themselves if you redo them. This means that you could simply memorize the right answers without actually seeing the letter and/or image. Adding a bit more variety to the images used during the tests would produce better results. Finally, the optician search option is total and utter rubbish and should not be taken seriously.
As far as my own results were concerned, they were relatively reassuring. It turned that I had perfect vision in both my eyes, but suffered from acute astigmatism. This tells me that although my vision has remained the same, my blurred eyesight is being caused by inability to focus correctly due to astigmatism. My next step is to go see my eye doctor to confirm my hypothesis on the matter.
Screen & Controls
Everything on the screen is accessible via the touch screen. All the buttons are located directly on the screen and are very east to use. At the bottom of the screen there are four self-explanatory icons that represent the following tabs:
- Vision Tests
- Optician Finder
The design is pretty slick and stylish in mostly black and white minimalist tones. The developers made sure to design cool icons, use appropriate fonts and make the entire app look fresh and new.
Again, for better results please make sure to hold your phone at arm’s length.
Speed & Stability
I tested Vision Test on my "old" HTC Hero running Android 2.1 and the app was pretty slow. I bet it runs a lot smoother on higher-end devices. I'd be curious to hear about your experiences in the comments.
Vision Test is available for free from the Android Market.