Purpose: To analyze currently available reading charts regarding print size, logarithmic print size progression, and the background of test-item standardization.
Methods: For the present study, the following logarithmically scaled reading charts were investigated using a measuring microscope (iNexis VMA 2520; Nikon, Tokyo): Eschenbach, Zeiss, OCULUS, MNREAD (Minnesota Near Reading Test), Colenbrander, and RADNER. Calculations were made according to EN-ISO 8596 and the International Research Council recommendations.
Results: Modern reading charts and cards exhibit a logarithmic progression of print sizes. The RADNER reading charts comprise four different cards with standardized test items (sentence optotypes), a well-defined stop criterion, accurate letter sizes, and a high print quality. Numbers and Landolt rings are also given in the booklet. The OCULUS cards have currently been reissued according to recent standards and also exhibit a high print quality. In addition to letters, numbers, Landolt rings, and examples taken from a timetable and the telephone book, sheet music is also offered. The Colenbrander cards use short sentences of 44 characters, including spaces, and exhibit inaccuracy at smaller letter sizes, as do the MNREAD cards. The MNREAD cards use sentences of 60 characters, including spaces, and have a high print quality.
Conclusion: Modern reading charts show that international standards can be achieved with test items similar to optotypes, by using recent technology and developing new concepts of test-item standardization. Accurate print sizes, high print quality, and a logarithmic progression should become the minimum requirements for reading charts and reading cards in ophthalmology.
Keywords: Near visual acuity; Ophthalmological diagnostic techniques; Reading; Vision tests; Visual acuity.