aoa.org CONSUMER HEALTH ALERT
WHAT YOU MAY BE MISSING WITH ONLINE VISION TESTS
Some online vision test companies encourage individuals to “skip the doctor’s office” or claim that their service is “Easier than 1,2,3.” However, there are important questions to ask instead of that consumers should ask before utilizing an online vision test.
Can you find the FDA approval statement for the company and its test, and is the company operating within that authority?
One online vision test has received FDA approval but only for certain patient ages (18-40).
Do you know the doctor of optometry or ophthalmologist who is prescribing your contact lenses?
Having a physician that knows you and your health history can be critical for a positive health care experience. Oftentimes, online vision tests do not disclose the name or credentials of the doctor who will be reviewing your vision test until the name of the doctor appears on the prescription issued. Ensure you feel comfortable not being able to research the doctor of optometry’s or ophthalmologist’s background or credentials.
Are you asked to sign any forms that seek to release the company from liability? Online vision tests have varying terms and conditions which limit the company’s responsibility for what happens to you. One company indicates that the “sole remedy” for any dissatisfaction with the vision test or products purchased is to request a refund for the vision test or return the unused products to the company. Be aware of these limitations.
Can I ask the doctor who is prescribing my contact lenses any questions when I am using an online vision test?
Typically, these services do not allow for two-way communication between the prescribing doctor and patient.
What do online vision tests actually “test”?
One online vision test indicates their device assesses “elements of visual acuity.” The company also makes clear that their device does not “provide any eyecare or clinical services.” In addition, ensure you are comfortable acknowledging the test does not assess eye health, nor does it perform or replace a comprehensive eye examination, nor does it perform or replace an initial eye examination.
The AOA works 24/7/365 to safeguard the quality care standards for eye, health and vision care and supports the doctor-patient relationship as the foundation for healthy outcomes. According to AOA’s
Telemedicine in Optometry guide, the standard of care must remain the same regardless of whether services are provided in-person, remotely via telehealth, or through any combination thereof.