(CNN) – You’ve lost your glasses, again… and you don’t have time to make an appointment with an eye doctor. Well there’s an app for that, but can mobile and online exams truly be as good as going to the ophthalmologist?
The convenience of getting eye exams at home may sound too good to be true, but companies like Opternative, Glasseson, and Essilor promise to do just that. Their online tests are similar to those you take at an optometrist’s office.
After setting up an account, you look at your computer screen to read letters, shapes, and numbers, based on traditional eye charts. You indicate what you can and can’t see by responding on your smartphone.
For a fee, the company sends your results to an eye doctor who reviews them and writes you a prescription. Experts however, don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to online vision tests and the new technology is not meant to replace comprehensive eye health exams.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology only recommends online testing for people between the ages of 18 and 39 without severe corrective lens prescriptions and without symptoms of eye disease.
The academy says they are generally supportive of new technologies, but they should always be evaluated over time for safety and efficacy.