Look at the image below. Do you see anything more than a simple red dot?
Do you see a slightly darker red horse? What about the blades of grass and the horse’s saddle? If you’re panicking because you didn’t see anything or kicking yourself as you look back at it, take a deep breath.
The red dot test, the newest optical illusion spreading across the internet, doesn’t actually test for much at all, says Dominick Maino, an optometrist and professor of pediatrics and binocular vision at the Illinois College of Optometry.
“It looks like it might be a test for contrast sensitivity and perhaps visual acuity,” Maino says. “I haven’t seen anything in the research literature on it though. I think it is just interesting. This is not a real test as far as I can tell.”
So there you have it: There may be some merit to the meme (contrast sensitivity is part of most routine eye exams) but not enough to get all riled up. If you’re still not convinced, see your optometrist. Chances are it’s been a while since your last eye exam anyway.