IS OPTERNATIVE THE NE ALTERNATIVE?

Ever heard of an online eye exam? I didn’t either until I did a little research. Turns out, there is a whole website, and possibly more apps, dedicated to acting as your very own personal eye doctor. You don’t even have to be seen in a doctor’s office! You can just hang out in your pajamas, sipping some coffee while your “doctor” is testing your eyes.  Sounds a little too good to be true? Yes, because it is and it can also lead to many undetected health problems.

It’s called Opternative and declares right on their website that it is “as accurate as an in-person refractive eye exam.” The website states that the exam itself is free, but if you want to go ahead and receive your prescription, you will need to pay an additional $40 and if you want contacts, it is another $60. Yes, you can even get a contact lens prescription without even learning how to care for them. The exam apparently only takes 25 minutes to complete and you can do it right on your smartphone.  So why can this be a bad thing?

Please realize that you are not seeing an actual eye doctor that has the credentials and experience. This online system can not see what is going on in the back of the eye. This computer system can not dilate you or use any hands-on tools to help you understand what is truly going on with your vision and overall health of your eye. This online vision test is only “refracting” the patient, which is only a small fraction of a comprehensive eye exam. For those of you who do not know what refraction is, it is when the doctor tests “which is better: 1 or 2.” This only helps the doctor find the right prescription for the patient. This does not allow the doctor to see what is going on in the front or the back of the eye. There are other tests the doctor performs that will give him better information.

Having online eye exams accessible to patients could lead to more harm than good. Patients deserve to have the best eye health care that is available to them, even though it is not at the tip of their fingertips. It is all about the quality of care and at Lickteig Family Eyecare feel that should never be undervalued. Check out either of our locations!

870 Providence Highway, Dedham, MA 02026 OR 1245 Worcester St Ste 1024, Natick, MA 01760

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