Online eye exams are convenient, but are they a good replacement for a comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist? Definitely not!
The internet has made life considerably easier, as it is now possible to do everything from ordering a pizza to refilling a prescription online. The ideas of getting an eyeglass prescription or buying glasses without a trip to the eye doctor sound appealing, but before you ditch the traditional eye exam, you should know that the convenience of online exams may not outweigh the benefits of a comprehensive eye exam.
What You Need to Know about Online Eye Tests
Online eye tests, sometimes known as online eye exams, do not provide a full evaluation of your eye health. Most online eye tests only measure your visual acuity and refractive error, which means they measure the sharpness of your vision and determine if you are nearsighted (myopia), farsighted (hyperopia), or have astigmatism. Some online vision exams test for color blindness and contrast sensitivity. However, these tests do not assess the health of your eyes – only your eye doctor can do that.
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor uses a variety of tools and techniques to detect a wide variety of vision-threatening conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration. Your eye doctor can detect many of these conditions before they cause symptoms and early enough to prevent vision loss and blindness.
Online eye exams cannot detect these eye diseases, which leaves you at risk for vision loss and blindness. Online eye tests present other risks too – because consumers must perform the online tests themselves without the guidance of an eye care professional, they may perform the test improperly, make errors, or misread the instructions. Improper testing during a self-administered test increases the chances of getting an incorrect prescription. Consumers who suspect that their prescription is incorrect have little choice but to pay again and retake the test. Worse still, consumers who take online eye exams do not have access to an ophthalmologist or optometrist to answer questions or address concerns.
Experts strongly caution against home eye exams to order contact lenses, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). The AAO also recommends limiting online eye exams to healthy adults who are ages 18-39 years, who do not have symptoms of eye disease, and who have a mild or moderate eyeglass prescription.
Comprehensive eye exams by an ophthalmologist or optometrist at Illinois Eye Center are safe and recommended for everyone. Contact IEC today for more information about comprehensive eye exams from your ophthalmologist or optometrist or schedule your appointment online.