doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Whatever happened to …

… the duochrome test?


OK, it’s a stretch but last week’s post about red and green exit signs got me wondering. I appreciate the comments and insights from those that chose to respond to the post.

It got me wondering if the red/black combination had more impact than the green/black combination. That led me back to years ago getting my eyes tested. I’ve worn contact lenses or glasses for as long as I can remember so I can’t recall the last time I woke up ready to go, except maybe for bumping into something I couldn’t see!

But, I do remember for years going to my eye doctor and this test was done every time. What looks “sharper” – the green side or the red side?

Now, I always thought that it was silly because black on green always appears sharper than black on red to me.

I did some research here. Holy physics, Batman.

Before you get overly impressed with me knowing the term “duochrome”, I’ll confess. It was easy to find as a result of the internet search “optometrist test red green”. Now, I can sound semi-informed when I visit my optometrist for my yearly check up. Quite frankly, I can’t remember the last time that the duochrome actually came up as part of my checkup.

For a Sunday, check in please..

  • Before reading this post, did you know of the word duochrome?
  • Do you have a predisposition to black on green or black on red?
  • Do you get your eyes checked annually? If not, why not?
  • When was the last time you had a duochrome test?
  • How many pairs of glasses do you own?
  • Do you think that red/black or green/black makes for a better exit sign?

I’d be most interested in your thoughts and insights on this topic. Please share them in the comments below.

This is part of a regular fun series of posts that appear on Sunday morning. They can all be enjoyed here.

The post appeared originally on:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not original.


5 responses to “Whatever happened to …”

  1. Doug, I’ll admit that I had no idea what you were talking about until I read this post. I don’t really have a preference for black on green versus black on red, but I’m so accustomed to red exit signs that I think I prefer them. As for eye tests, I always get mine done annually, as my mom has macular degeneration. My eyes haven’t changed in years though. I got a new pair of glasses after 16 years, but only because the glasses were getting old. The prescription hadn’t changed. I would like that trend to continue. 🙂 So I have two pairs of glasses, but only one that I ever wear. Curious to hear what others say about this topic. Thanks for always giving us new things to think about in these weekly posts (and in your other daily ones). 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do remember that test. Maybe it is an age test as well since I don’t remember seeing it in many years.

    I’m up to three pair of glasses these days. The most I had before my most recent prescription was two. I now have my main pair, a backup pair, and a pair of prescription sunglasses. I could do this only because I discovered online stores that are much less expensive than the bricks and mortar stores I had been using.

    At my last exam I was told I am developing cataracts. There is short term bad news (cataracts blur vision) and long term good news. If they get bad enough the surgery to fix them may mean I will not need glasses anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never had a duochrome test that I remember. I have technically had glasses since elementary school for my astigmatism, but have only worn them consistently since my night vision started to degrade about 25 yeas ago. I have one pair of progressives, and I do see my eye doctor regularly as well as seeing a specialist once a year, because I have a freckle on one eye that requires monitoring. I’m kind of learning to like the green signs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t remember the optometrist ever doing the duo chrome test. I usually get my eyes tested every two years because our benefits covered it. I had better than 20/20 vision until I started working in the program department and, within 6 months of working there, I needed glasses. I blame the eye strain from all the reading, both print and online, required for the job. I always wanted glasses and now that i have them, I’d love to not need them anymore. Not eligible for contacts – they make me see double. Currently, I have three pairs of glasses and I always buy new ones as soon as I’m eligible. Love having different colours and styles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had forgotten about this test! I have needed corrective lenses for about 30 years, so that’s a lot of eye exams (once every 2 years seems to be enough for me! But when I lived-in New Jersey they were not allowed to sell more than 1 year’s worth of contact lenses at a time, so I went more often then.) I wonder which test replaces it.

    Liked by 1 person

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