Growing up, I saw more than my fair share of the optometrist’s office. My dad is an optometrist, so my brothers and I were plenty familiar with the exam rooms, the walls of stylish frames flanked by mirrors, and of course the phoropter.
But there is one piece of optometric design that I can’t claim to have seen more than anyone else: the visual acuity chart. You know, the one the eye doctor uses to check your vision, with the lines of increasingly smaller letters. It’s everywhere.
It famously featured in a scene from the 2001 film America’s Sweethearts in which the visual acuity chart spells out “I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U.”
The chart imposes some fairly strict creative limitations but offers a format that is instantly recognizable to the general public. Much like a Venn diagram, it is a playground for creativity. And a breeding ground for visual puns.
If you’re curious about some of the history of the eye chart, we’ve got you covered.
I’m pretty sure my dad had a necktie with those big black block letters printed on it. In Dad’s defense, it was the 90’s, they put anything and everything on neckties. Hindsight is 2020.