The Distance Vision Test with its letter chart at the centre, probably is most emblematic of optometric consultations. It involves a client sitting on a chair who encouraged by the optometrist reads lines of letters from a standardised chart. At the end of the test, the optometrist uses the reading performance of the client to determine an initial score for her or his ability to see in the distance. The score often is the starting point for a later test, the Subjective Refraction, that we have written about previously.
Despite the pervasiveness of the Distance Vision Test little is known of the interaction between optometrist and client that leads to the determining of the test score. We have analysed video-recordings of Distance Vision Tests and reveal the professional skill and competence that optometrist use to arrive at the test score. This skill and competence involves in particular a sensitivity to changes in clients’ reading behaviour. The related paper on this has been published (in English) in a Special Issue of the German sociology journal Soziale Welt. It can be found here.