LEA Test – Visual Acuity Test For Children

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What Is The LEA Test?

The LEA Test Vision System is a set of visual tests designed to evaluate the vision of children who do not yet know the letters and/or cannot read the optotypes of the visual tests.

The LEA Test Vision System has many variants that allow assessing different visual abilities such as ‘nearby’ and ‘distant’ visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual field, visual adaptation, color vision, cognitive vision, visual perception, and oculomotor and accommodation functions.

Therefore, in this article, we will learn about Lea Hyvärinen and discover her tests and tools. In the process, we’ll learn the LEA symbols that have made the LEA test so symbolic in the visual world.

What makes the LEA test stand out?

The LEA test was born with the motivation to be used as a visual test for children at an early age.

After its creator, Dr. Hyvärinen realized through her ‘low-vision’ work how inadequate pediatric vision tests were designed at that time. She decided to create an alternative that went beyond using letters and colors.

So, with the help of Professor Veijo Virsu’s psychology group, they began to design these tests, which were patented in 1976. They started with visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and lateral color vision tests.

The LEA test thus solves the problem that existed, since with the LEA test, it is only necessary to see the difference between the different symbols without the need to know letters or colors. The LEA test was effectively more attractive to children by using recognizable symbols.

It can be used in children under two years of age and/or people with learning difficulties due to visual impairment, patients with congenital brain injuries, or stroke.

The Original LEA Test

In the original LEA test, known as the LEA Symbols Test, the optotypes used are geometric figure symbols representing a square, a circle, a house, and an apple.

Thanks to the creation and use of these symbols, children can easily tell in their own words which symbol they can visualize on the chart.

This also avoids any language problems! Children who cannot or do not know how to speak yet, are shy, do not speak the same language, have some developmental disorder, autism, etc.

There are also individual cards with each symbol. So instead of naming the symbol, the person taking the test can simply select the corresponding card.

Many vision experts choose the LEA Symbol Test to evaluate young children because it allows them to treat them according to their different developmental abilities.

The LEA symbols test was initially calibrated in 1976 with the Snellen vision test, the international reference optotype at the time.

Subsequently, when the Landolt C became the 1988 reference optotype, the symbols were recalibrated and reduced in size.

In 1993, the symbols were recalibrated due to the changing printing techniques from camera to computer.

Who invented the Lea Test?

The original Lea test with its 4 symbols (circle, square, apple, and house), the LEA SYMBOLS®, was invented in 1976 by the Finnish pediatric ophthalmologist Lea Hyvärinen, hence the name LEA Test.

Since then, she created numerous tests for vision screening, known collectively, initially as LH Vision Test System (by its initials) or LEA Test Vision System™ later.

Who is Dr. Hyvärinen?

Dr. Lea Hyvärinen is an ophthalmologist born in 1940 in Jääsken Enso, Finland, dedicated to the study of vision development. She is the author of numerous specialized texts. She has created multiple tests to evaluate children’s visual functions, which form the basis of today’s optical science standards.

The LH Symbol tests (known as LEA SYMBOLS®) became very popular in 1980 and are used to assess vision in children. The first publication was in 1979, written in Finnish and a year later in English (New visual acuity test for pre-school Children, 1980).

Experimental work with monkeys with her late husband, Juhani Hyvärinen, made her aware of the importance of vision at very early stages of development. That was the basis for building her work in early vision intervention.

In 1993, Dr. Hyvärinen created the LEA NUMBERS® as a visual acuity test with low and full contrast levels.

The LEA Test Vision System™ contains more than 40 basic tests for use in various clinical evaluation and vision assessment situations for children and adults with different communication needs.

In addition, its optotypes are also used in more than 150 other tests. Most of these tests are produced by Good-Lite® Company and distributed to more than 140 countries. Retrieved from http://www.lea-test.hk/en/cv/

In 2011, together with Dr. Namita Jacob, she published the book ‘What and how does this child see?‘ which summarizes her lectures.

Dr. Hyvärinen has dedicated her life to improving the vision of many people worldwide as a vision researcher and in the service of various vision impairment organizations.

Despite her retirement from medical practice, she continues to offer her contributions worldwide, thanks to her website, www.lea-test.fi, which has been translated into several languages, and will soon be moved to www.leatest.com.

LEA Vision Test System™ (Lea Test Vision System™)

Currently, LEA symbols are available in different formats for near and distance visual acuity measurement in LogMAR (LogMAR) or non-LogMAR presentations, with verbal or non-verbal response format, single figures, in a complete line, or in a whole table.

This way, the vision specialist has different ways of obtaining test results and thus, depending on the age or development of the child, can use one or another strategy as best suits them at any given time.

LEA SYMBOLS® is part of the LEA Test Vision System along with LEA NUMBERS®, HIDING HEIDI®, LEA GRATINGS®, LEA 3-D PUZZLE®, LEA FLICKER WAND®, LEA RECTANGLES GAME® and LEA MAILBOX GAME® all intellectual property of LEA Test Intl, LLC™, copyrighted by Dr. Hyvärinen and responsible for the trademarks.

The LEA Vision Test System consists of the following:

  • LEA Symbols – LEA SYMBOLS®.
  • LEA Numbers – LEA NUMBERS®.
  • Hiding Heidi™
  • Visual Field
  • Cognitive vision test
  • Adaptation Test – CONE™ Adaptation Test
  • Color vision test