Are Online Eye Tests Reliable?

These days we rely more than ever on online services, and this extends to purchases of all kinds, with more options emerging all the time. Glasses are no exception to this. However, there is an issue because in order to buy prescription lenses, you obviously need a prescription. If you go into a physical store, there will be an eye doctor there who can give you a vision test. When ordering online, however, if you don’t already have a prescription from a visit to the eye doctor, most of these services offer you an online eye test. Are these online tests accurate?


Are Online Eye Tests Reliable? in Bellflower

The obvious question is, are these online tests any good?

The short answer is no.

In fact the leading online eye test (which has an eye doctor look at results) says in fine print at the bottom of their website “Our online eye exam is not a replacement for a comprehensive eye health examination.” So don’t take our word for it, take their own! 

Amplify Eyecare of Greater Long Beach

The Dangers of Online Eye Tests

Online eye tests are just that, simple vision tests like you might have received in grade school. All it can do is measure your basic vision to determine nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism to determine an eyeglass prescription for you.

However, since this is a test that is essentially a self test, as opposed to one carried out by a trained professional, its basic accuracy is very questionable. What many do not realize is that when an optometrist performs an eye exam to determine your prescription, some measure of judgement on their part is required, based on factors such as your age, profession, or hobbies. These factors can lead them to recommend specific lens types better suited to your needs.

Online vision tests are incapable of this.

In fact, studies show that almost half of prescription glasses ordered online have incorrect prescriptions or fail to meet safety standards.

Because of this the American Optometry Association (AOA) has made statements condemning online eye tests.

Furthermore, proper eye exams do far more than simply testing your vision. If you only use these basic vision tests to judge your eye health, you can put your eyes, and your vision, at risk.


What else is lacking from an online eye exam?

Perhaps the most crucial difference between an online eye exam and a comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor is all the other things an eye doctor will test for aside from your prescription. An eye exam is so much more than a vision screening, in fact the American Optometric Association says that a vision screening covers only 4% of a comprehensive eye exam. 

A comprehensive eye exam looks at the entire patient, and starts with the doctor reviewing the patient history to have a more complete understanding of the risks and lifestyle of each patient. The patient history will inform the eye doctor what additional tests are needed, they may include evaluations of depth perception, binocular vision, eye focusing, eye teaming, eye tracking,  color vision, eye muscle movements, peripheral or side vision, and the way your pupils respond to light. In addition an eye doctor will also have a variety of advanced imaging cameras to assess ocular health of specific parts of the eye. This screening is absolutely essential for patients with predisposition for diabetes, glaucoma, and macular degeneration among many other ocular diseases. 

What else is lacking from an online eye exam?
Are There Any Benefits to Online Eye Tests?

Are There Any Benefits to Online Eye Tests?

As we have outlined above, there are few benefits to online eye tests. However, if you suspect you need prescription eyeglasses, or a stronger prescription than you currently have, taking a quick online eye test can potentially confirm that for you. However, it is still strongly recommended that you then make an in-person appointment with an optometrist to get a more accurate test and prescription.

Make the Best Choice for Your Eye Health

Ultimately, the choice is in your hands. In matters of health, the easy, convenient way is not always best. 

Dr. Ikeda cartoon


While obviously cheaper and more convenient, the disadvantages of online eye tests strongly outweigh their potential benefits, and thus, it is highly recommended that people seek out an optometrist to perform eye exams in person.
Call our office at (562) 925-6591 or click Book an Appointment to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our caring and knowledgeable eye doctors. 


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I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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