In today’s society, we have access to all sorts of technology that can perform tasks typically done in the past by professionals. Devices such as smartphones have made processes as technical as eye exams accessible in the comfort of our home. However, is an online or smartphone eye exam as reliable as going to your optometrist? Let’s consider the differences between the two below, and see which type of eye exam is best suited for you.


When looking into what type of eye exams to take, convenience is sometimes a signifying factor. Typically for in-person eye exams at your optometrist’s office, you are required to schedule an appointment and take time in your day to plan it into your schedule. However, for those who have tight schedules and need to plan around their personal time, going to the optometrist may not be ideal. In this predicament, an online eye exam would be more convenient. It’s as easy and quick as taking a few short tests and then getting your results right away. Although these online exams can tell you if you need glasses or if you’re colorblind, the results do not provide a comprehensive assessment of your vision.


If you want a complete assessment of your vision and any underlying issues, scheduling an appointment to the optometrist may be your best bet. While online vision exams can measure visual acuity and refractive errors, an in-person exam would provide you a more detailed insight into your overall eye health and any conditions you may have, which is typically diagnosed by trained professional who have to physically look into your eyes. For instance, astigmatism is only discerned by a physical expert examiner and cannot be detected by any online test.

Additionally, if you have issues with depth perception or blurry vision, executing and interpreting an online test may be challenging on your own. How can you provide an accurate assessment of yourself if you’re having trouble navigating the test itself? On top of conducting an accurate test, seeing a trained optometrist is beneficial in that they can clarify any medical terminology in the assessment that may seem otherwise confusing.

In general, in-person eye exams are more thorough than online screenings. At your optometrist, acuity vision tests that test your vision from a distance, such as the Snellen Eye Chart and Random “E” Test, involve your optometrist testing various lenses to determine your specific prescription. While online eye exams can tell you whether you have a vision problem, they would not be able to give your precise measurements of your vision like an in-person exam would.


In terms of more severe eye health complications, it is essential to be examined at the right time. Even though online eyes can be more convenient and less time consuming, some conditions need to be examined as early as possible. For instance, it’s ideal to know sooner than later if a patient has early stages of glaucoma before the condition worsens. With modern vision screening devices, a general appointment to the optometrist can accurately detect signs of a number of specific eye conditions. Although you may be able to save time with an online vision test, there is a risk involved if you happen to have an eye condition. It’s better to take the time to go for an in-person exam to get accurate and comprehensive screenings.

See the Benefits

Online vision exams certainly have their benefits; they’re easy, quick, and convenient. However, in terms of accuracy and thoroughness, it is far from comparison to an in-person exam at the optometrist. With state of the art vision screening devices, visiting an optometry office is better to help you identify further issues than just indications of vision acuity and refractive errors. They are adept at using their technologies to give you comprehensive assessments of your vision, so you won’t have to worry if you’re doing it right yourself. An online eye exam may seem inviting, but it cannot completely replace professional care. Although you can save time by taking an online vision test, it better to put your eye health in the care of an expert.

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