Imagine receiving a prescription for new glasses without having to step foot outside your home: you go to a website, click some buttons, answer a few simple questions. Before you know it, your new prescription is in your hands, signed by a doctor, and you never even had to get up from the couch. While this sounds luxuriously convenient, online eye exams come at a risk.
Too Good to Be True
When you take an “online eye exam,” you complete a series of steps to calibrate your computer screen, then answer a few questions to roughly determine your refractive error, or the prescription required to correct your vision. From this information, a finalized prescription is sent to you, with which you can purchase glasses as you wish.
What online eye exams do not address is ocular health. Your refractive error is just a small part of what your optometrist assesses when you receive a comprehensive eye exam. Eye doctors are highly trained in evaluating the health of both the front and the back of your eyes, as well as complicated aspects of your visual system such as eye alignment and visual field. During an online eye exam, none of these factors are assessed. These online tests may seem convenient, but they are unable to detect many dangerous ocular conditions.
Do They Even Work?
The creators of online eye exams have released a study suggesting their prescriptions are as accurate as traditional eye exams, though evidence for this claim is still limited. Not to mention, there is no way for online eye exams more precisely adjust prescriptions for more specific or specialized visual needs. For example, if you feel as though your eyes strain when you read for a long time, or you need a stronger prescription while you are driving a night, an online eye exam can miss important information that your eye doctor will be able to address.
A Bargain or a Gamble?
Online eye exams may sound like a cheaper option than a visit to the optometrist’s office, but they are not covered by insurance. Not to mention, if they prescription isn’t precise the first time you take the exam, or you make mistakes while calibrating or taking the exam, you are stuck with an inaccurate prescription and may be forced to pay again.
At Wilmington Family Eye Care, we pride ourselves in completely evaluating your ocular health, and are dedicated to ensuring you receive an accurate prescription.