The public has a variety of misconceptions about eye care. In this social media-driven world we live in, there are so many businesses and individuals that have your attention. Some will have your best interest in mind, while others see an opportunity to take advantage of a billion dollar industry. It is important that you get your information, technology and education on your health from a trusted resource. The “Eye Care Myths – Debunked” series will help you sort through the facts and increase your knowledge on eye health.
Myth 2: “State-of-the-art” technology allows me to get my eye exam online now
There is no such thing as an online eye examination. There are only online refraction tests. A refraction utilizes a series of measurements to come up with a prescription for glasses. A comprehensive eye health examination includes a refraction, refined by the doctor for the patient’s specific needs. However, the refraction is only a “fraction” of the comprehensive examination. A comprehensive eye health exam assesses the eyelids, eyelashes, front surface of the eye, middle of the eye, and back wall of the eye. This comprehensive exam will uncover any diseases (glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye, etc.), age-related conditions (cataracts, eyelid dysfunction, etc.), and ocular involvement of systemic conditions (diabetes, hypertension, stroke, anemia, etc.). In addition, the comprehensive exam will assess all vision needs and options for treatment, including glasses, contact lenses, specialty lenses, and surgical intervention. Each age group is at risk for different eye conditions and some conditions don’t discriminate age so an annual comprehensive exam is equally important for a 5-year old and an 85-year old.
It is important that we distinguish between technology that makes for easier access vs. technology that makes for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you find the idea of using a tablet to come up with a glasses prescription innovative, imagine your level of impression with these technological advances when you encounter them in the office:
- A device that checks for eye pressure (a necessary test for glaucoma risk) with unnoticeable contact with the ocular surface
- An imaging machine that uses infrared technology to generate high-resolution, cross-sectional and 3-dimensional images of the retina (back of the eye).
- A camera that airplays photos and videos of the eye so you can see exactly what the doctor sees
- A device that measures the quality of peripheral vision
- A tear collection device that measures salt content of the tears
These are just a few of the devices that contribute to the comprehensive eye health examination. The truth is, the greatest innovations and technological advances are in your eye care provider’s office and can’t be replicated on the internet!
Jared Most, OD