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Today (9 May) marks the birth of somebody who made a big impact on ophthalmology, the world over.

Ferdinand Monoyer, a French ophthalmologist, was born on this day 181 years ago. He is best known for inventing the eye chart that led to the one we all use during an eye test - the Monoyer Chart.

Monoyer_chartHe came up with the unit of measurement for the optical power of a lens, called a dioptre. This is the distance someone has to be from text to read it. His chart had rows of letters representing a different dioptre, from smallest to largest.

Today, Google is celebrating Monoyer’s birth with a Google Doodle. You will have seen it if you’ve done a search.

One thing many people don’t realise is that he managed to insert his own name into the chart he developed. If you look at the chart you’ll see his name begins in the second line up with the letter M and the rest of his name leads up the first column.

In 1976 researchers in Australia developed a more up-to-date version of Monoyer’s invention which is called the LogMAR chart and is used in opticians practices in most countries.

Monoyer died in July 1912, but his impact on the world of ophthalmology lives on today.