The Internet has changed every other aspect of life – why not eye exams? Eye care professionals see many problems with this approach. Evidence suggests that online programs often give inaccurate and misleading information. How clearly each eye can see is only a small portion of an eye exam. An in-office comprehensive eye exam also includes a patient history, measurements of the curvature of the cornea (critical for those who wear contact lenses), and an overall eye health evaluation to diagnose Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Diabetes.

Diabetes, for example, affects more than 8 percent of the U.S. population, but roughly 7 million people are unaware that they have this condition, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Delay in intervention in such cases could result in progressive vision damage and more costly and intensive treatments down the road.

Safeguarding patients against companies that tout convenience through ambiguous and sometimes inaccurate claims remains an issue of paramount importance to AOA and affiliates.

Apps not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, claim to produce refractive prescriptions without an in-person examination by an eye care professional. Such apps cannot assess a patient's overall medical condition and can give patients a false sense of security, potentially causing them to forego eye- and life-saving treatment.

“In-person, comprehensive eye exams are the gold standard when it comes to protecting and preserving patients’ eye and vision health,” Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., AOA president, said.

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