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Online Eye Exams: Will they replace your Eye Doctor?

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For many people purchasing products online is the new normal. Glasses and contact lenses are available for purchase online. Now, there are a variety of companies that offer online “eye exams.”  The online “eye exams” are actually online vision tests.  The online testing involves measuring your prescription so you can get a glasses and contact lens prescription.  However, obtaining a prescription is just one part of a comprehensive eye examination done by your eye doctor.  

Online eye tests are not monitored by an eye doctor to determine if your eyes are healthy.  Sight-threatening conditions such as diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and cataracts can be easily missed since there is no pain or immediate loss of vision.  Often, patients have no idea they have a sight threatening condition until they are diagnosed by an eye care provider.  Contact lens wearers can develop blood vessels on their cornea from prolonged contact lens wear . It is important to remember that contact lenses are medical devices.  A vision test cannot detect disorders from wearing contact lenses. 

Early detection is paramount when it comes to these conditions to prevent vision loss and legal blindness. Remember, the vision test you take online is just one part of a comprehensive eye examination performed by your eye doctor.  The online test gives you a prescription but does not evaluate the health of your eyes.  In addition, the cost of the vision test you are receiving online is not covered by your health or vision insurance benefits. Your co-pay for an eye examination is usually the same cost or less than an online vision test.  Online eye tests may not save as much time or money as you think.  Having face-face time with your eye doctor on an annual basis is paramount to maintaining a lifetime of good vision.


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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