AOA cautions consumers about claims from online eye exams

March 18, 2014

To protect consumers’ eye and vision health, the American Optometric Association is warning the public about the false claims that they provide an online “eye exam,” stating that these claims are confusing and misleading.

St. Louis, MO-To protect consumers’ eye and vision health, the American Optometric Association is warning the public about the false claims that they provide an online “eye exam," stating that these claims are confusing and misleading. 

“To help safeguard consumers, the AOA is closely monitoring Internet-linked assertions about eye exams without doctors,” says Mitchell T. Munson, OD, president of the AOA. “And, we’ll play an even more active role in fact-checking false claims.”

According to the AOA, consumers should understand that only an in-person exam by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist can determine how well they see and whether or not they need corrective lenses. In addition, every day, in patients seen for routine examinations optometrists diagnose and manage diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or cataracts.

According to the AOA, a person or company claiming to perform an eye exam without physically examining a patient is offering insufficient, ambiguous information and is contributing to a patient believing-incorrectly-that his eye health needs have been met. The organization also says the claims of those who market online eye testing should be thoroughly scrutinized and evaluated; these claims may harm patients and hinder care needed to diagnose important underlying, and often asymptomatic, health problems. Any delay in intervention will result in progressive damage to vision, and more costly and intensive treatments later in life.