Are Online Eye Exams Reliable?
By Essilor News
June 2, 2016
If you do a quick search for “online eye exams,” more than nine million results come up in seconds. From websites to apps for your phone, there’s no shortage of options.
The allure of an online eye exam is clear — you can get your eyes checked from the comfort of your home instead of making an appointment with your eye doctor. Simply download an app or click on a website to find do-it-yourself tests, such as the familiar eye charts with letters of various sizes, as well as the multi-colored Ishihara test circles used to detect color vision deficits.
These online tests could give you a hint that your vision needs a professional diagnosis, but when it comes to your eyes, can you really trust an online eye exam?
Probably not and here’s why:
· For starters, yearly comprehensive eye exams are recommended to ensure good ocular health, prescriptions are up to date and to potentially detect broader health issues.
· One of the biggest shortcomings of an online exam is it can only provide a refractive evaluation, meaning it attempts to measure your required vision correction. The American Optometric Association (AOA) has warned against online exams not for what they can do, but for what they can't do. As an example, since a computer can't actually look at your eye or conduct eye pressure tests to check for glaucoma, key indicators of health problems will be missed.
· A comprehensive eye exam should include several different tests – many of which must be done face to face with the appropriate equipment. These include dilation, which can help detect conditions like a retinal detachment, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, and a peripheral vision or visual field test. Loss of peripheral vision may also be a sign of glaucoma.
While an online exam is convenient, it often may not give you a full picture of your eye health. Unfortunately, most serious diseases that affect the eyes are symptom free until well advanced. To make sure your eyes remain as healthy as possible, see an eyecare professional annually.