Eye Exams on Your Home Computer?
I was contacted last month by Yahoo news regarding a new technology that allows patients to take a vision test and check for glasses via their home computer. The company, Opternative, was designed to create an easier way to obtain a prescription. The website asks several questions of the user, including age and general health questions, then asks you to measure 10 feet from the computer, which is where you stand when the vision exam is administered. Within 24 hours a licensed optometrist in your state dispenses a digital prescription for glasses.
The questions posed to me were: can a computer evaluate your eyes as well as a real doctor?
My answer – it depends.
The refraction exam when well performed detects nuances in the speed the patient answers and adjusts for squinting and lighting conditions, which the computer cannot do. Of course, the computer cannot administer a medical eye examination which screens for conditions such as glaucoma, dry eyes and diabetic eye disease.
At this point, while the concept is interesting and innovative, I still recommend having your eye examinations done by an eye care professional. A computer is simply not a substitute for a doctor.
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Michelle Akler, MD
Detroit Area LASIK Surgeon