In this time of electronic gadgets and doing more online there had to come a time where someone would create an online eye test.  However, this shouldn’t replace your eye doctor for many important reasons.

For many people, the notion of being able to get an eyeglass prescription and buy glasses without a trip to the eye doctor sounds appealing.  But, is this really a good idea?  It’s important to understand that the online exam really isn’t evaluating the health of your eyes. The purpose of such online “exam” is only measuring your visual acuity and refractive error.  But, these measurements tell you nothing about the health of your eye. It cannot diagnosis such conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.  Only seeing your eye doctor and having a comprehensive eye exam can insure your eyes are healthy and free from sight-threatening conditions.

Do online eye tests have a value? It can be helpful if you are on vacation, lose your glasses and need to purchase replacements, quickly.  However, you can also call your eye doctor and have your actual prescription faxed or emailed to a provider where you are.

It’s important to note that you should be aware that though the results of some online eye test have been validated with limited studies, this is still a relatively new technology. More research needs to be done to test the accuracy of the prescriptions. The AOA (American Optometric Association) has important concerns regarding the accuracy and safety of the online exams.  Can the potential for an inaccurate prescription be harmful to patients?  There is a potential for missing serious eye health conditions which could cause irreversible damage to your eyes.  There is no eye care professional present when you are actually taking the vision test to insure that the test is done properly.   If you do not take the test accurately, then you might not be seeing as accurately as you should with your new glasses or contacts.  Also, what happens if you find out that the prescription was inaccurate and it’s causing headaches or eye strain, do you have to pay for a second test?  Now what do you do with the incorrect prescribed glasses or contacts?  So, is online eye exams really a money saver?

Ordering groceries, keeping up with friends and buying movie tickets on line are great benefits to our electronic age, however, it should never replace the comprehensive eye exam with your doctor to insure the health of your eyes.

“I opened two gifts this morning.  They were my eyes!”

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