Medicine: Read the Bottom Line

Though dozens of different eye charts have been proposed by assorted experts in half a century, none has displaced the familiar Snellen chart, topped by its king-sized "E". But this week the American Optometric Association announced the adoption of a chart made up of numerals, which, its members hope, will send the old Snellen into outer darkness.

Dr. J. Ottis White, president of the optometrists,* attacked the Snellen chart as a crude test which ignores the way people actually use their eyes. "The new A.O.A. standard tests visual recognition—meaningful vision—rather than mere visual acuity," said Optometrist White. "It takes into account the...

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