Are Online Eye Tests Reliable?

March 1, 2023

These days you can do almost everything online. But when it comes to your eye exam… should you? 

What Are Online Eye Tests? 

Online eye tests are primarily intended to measure your visual acuity and detect refractive errors. Sometimes they may also include vision tests like color blindness and sensitivity. They do not and cannot evaluate the overall health of your eyes and cannot determine if you have conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration. Knowing this, online tests should never be used as a substitute for your routine or comprehensive eye exam performed in person by your Optometrist. 

What Can An Online Eye Test Be Used For? 

Online tests can be used if you wish to obtain a valid eyeglass prescription or are simply replacing an old pair of glasses. They can also be used to monitor your eyesight and refractive error between routine eye exams. Online testing is only recommended for healthy adults ages 18-39 who either have already had a complete eye exam performed by a doctor, already have a prescription for eyeglasses, or have no risks for eye disease such as high blood pressure or diabetes. 

*Please note that while the results of some online eye tests have been validated with limited studies, more research is still needed to ensure that an eyeglass or contact lens prescription generated online is comparable to a prescription given by your doctor. 

How Do Online Eye Tests Work? 

You will need a computer or a smartphone as well as enough space to sit back and check your distance vision. A copy of your current prescription, and your glasses or contacts will also be necessary. Most online eye tests are only meant to check your vision so if it is determined that you might have a problem, you will still need to see an eye doctor for confirmation.  

Are Online Eye Tests Accurate? 

In general, online vision tests are a recent technology and there is limited information to show their accuracy. The results of your eye exam are based off you being able to correctly administer your eye test under the correct circumstances. Being slightly closer to the screen or slightly further away could cause your prescription to be inaccurate. 

What Are The Risks of Online Eye Exams? 

If you fail to do the test correctly, your prescription will also be incorrect. You may not see as clearly as you should, which can be dangerous if you are wearing the wrong prescription for driving or other activities. You could also experience some problems like headaches or eye strain. 

Are Online Eye Tests More Affordable? 

The cost of online vision tests is typically not covered by health or vision insurance.  If you have vision benefits, the cost of a comprehensive eye exam might be less than an online vision test. *Check with your vision or insurance provider for your specific coverage. 

With the risk of getting the incorrect prescription you may end up going to see an Optometrist in person and paying to have your eyes checked once more. An inaccurate prescription will also render your eyeglasses or contacts unusable, creating a need to purchase more. So instead of saving money you might end up paying more. 

Our compassionate team of Doctors and Certified Opticians will make sure that your prescription is correct and that you are seeing your best. We have 9 locations throughout Delaware and 1 location in West Chester, PA for your convenience.

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