It seems we can take care of just about any task online these days, and some websites are jumping on the virtual bandwagon by offering online vision tests and prescription lenses services. While it’s tempting to consider this a convenient option that you could take advantage of from the comfort of your home, it’s also wise to realize the limitations and potential risks of these online vision services.
The key point to consider is that vision tests are not the same as eye exams. A vision test, based on reading traditional eye charts, is a fairly small part of an overall comprehensive eye examination. While it’s an important part of the examination for helping an eye doctor determine if corrective lenses are needed, a vision test doesn’t assess the health of the eye.
A comprehensive eye exam can only be performed in person by an eye doctor, and it’s required to determine if you have indications of eye diseases that could lead to vision loss, like glaucoma, macular degeneration, or retina problems. A comprehensive eye exam can also detect general health problems, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Any online vision testing site that claims to offer “eye exams” is misleading its visitors. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to one of the larger online vision testing companies, Opternative, in October, 2017, requesting that the company cease activities that result in the misbranding or adulteration of its test as an “eye examination”.
Online vision tests are only designed to test how clearly you see, with or without lenses. However, they often give inaccurate or misleading information, and there is no eye care professional present to ensure that you’re actually taking the vision test correctly.
If the prescription recommendation is inaccurate, it’s possible you won’t see as clearly as you should when driving, for example, or you may experience problems such as headaches and eyestrain with your new lenses.
Ultimately, if you rely on online vision testing without also visiting your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam, you may be delaying essential, sight-saving treatment. Many eye diseases that cause vision loss, like glaucoma, often have no symptoms until vision loss actually occurs. With early diagnosis and treatment, however, your vision is more likely to be preserved.
A comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor is the single most important, preventive way to preserve your vision, and the only way to accurately assess the health of your eyes, diagnose an eye disease, and determine the need for corrective lenses or treatments.
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will not only conduct a thorough vision test but will also examine your cornea, iris, lens, and the back of your eye for abnormalities and signs of disease. He or she will then discuss recommendations for the continued, proper care of your eyes and your vision.
To schedule a comprehensive eye exam, including a vision test, contact East Tennessee Eye Surgeons. With two locations at 7800 Conner Road in Powell and 744 Middle Creek Road, Suite 200 in Sevierville, East Tennessee Eye Surgeons delivers the highest quality eye care in an exceptional setting. Visit our website to learn more about us, or call us at 865-546-1464 (Powell) or 865-908-7008 (Sevierville).