An online vision test may seem like an appealing way to acquire a prescription while saving time and money, but it is a poor replacement for an actual eye exam.
An online vision test gives only a prescription–Most online eye “exams” are just short vision tests that measure visual acuity, refractive error, or color sensitivity. Even if an online vision test identifies a change in your vision, the reason for the change remains a mystery. Taking an eye exam online might be able to support your existing suspicions that your vision is the same or different than it was when you were last issued a prescription, but those results will not help you to actually address the problem.
Online exams are not comprehensive–People tend to believe that the largest risk associated with online eye exams is that the prescription will be inaccurate, rendering the test a waste of time, and possibly even money. However, inaccuracy is probably the smallest problem with online exams. An online vision test will probably diagnose your vision accurately if you follow the instructions precisely, but the larger problem is that the exam will fail to diagnose real and potentially dangerous problems with your eyes.
Only an “in-person” exam can detect eye disease or illness–Most eye care providers can tell you of countless normal eye exams in which they discovered an infection, illness, or eye disease. The risk of eye disease should not be underestimated. Glaucoma often has no symptoms in early stages but can lead to blindness if not diagnosed early. Macular degeneration and cataracts are other dangerous eye conditions that will be detected and addressed correctly only from regularly scheduled in-person eye exams.
Your eyes can further reveal important aspects of your health–Many diseases that affect your whole body show early symptoms in your eyes. Medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, strokes, multiple sclerosis, and brain tumors can all be identified from a comprehensive eye exam. Early diagnosis ensures optimal opportunity for treatment. An online vision test completely misses one of the primary functions of an eye exam, which is to assess not only the health of the patient’s eyes, but also their overall health.
Support the health of your eyes by scheduling regular eye exams! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.