These days, you can complete almost any chore or task that you can think of online. You can balance your checking account, order your dinner, make appointments, and even restock on groceries and other household items simply by using the Internet.
In fact, companies have also started offering annual vision checks and tests online as well.
While this may seem like the epitome of convenience, the American Optometric Association (AOA) is urging caution with these online vision tests, as there are aspects of an in-person exam that an online version just can’t replace.
These online vision tests work by using a computer or smart phone to take the user through a series of vision tests, leading to a prescription being written for eye glasses or contacts. While ophthalmologists are contracted by the company to review the test results, the AOA argues that online vision tests can lead to inaccurate prescriptions being dispensed, as they are written without an examination of the patient by an eye care professional and without taking into account the patient's overall medical condition. Inaccurate prescriptions can pose serious health risks to the public.
The AOA has filed a complaint with the FDA calling for online vision tests to be removed from the market until additional testing is completed to ensure they meet the requirements for safety and effectiveness, as determined by Federal officials.
Dr. Steven A. Loomis, O.D., AOA president, says that the AOA has taken the action of filing a complaint, “to expose questionable product claims, safeguard public health and maintain the medically recognized standard of care linking a patient's vision and eye health.”
A personalized, in-person comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor is the only consistent and proven method to detect vision issues and a full range of eye health conditions - many of which have no obvious signs or symptoms but can threaten vision loss and overall health. This is because eye exams by doctors of optometry are also effective in diagnosing diseases at an early stage, including diabetes, hypertension and stroke.
For your next annual eye check-up, make an appointment with a doctor of optometry (OD), who is a health care professional for the eye and has extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system.