Consumer-Facing Statement from AOA Warns Public of ‘Online Eye Exam’ Claims

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ST. LOUIS—To address false claims of eye exams being offered online to consumers, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has issued a statement to the public cautioning that “only an in-person exam by a doctor of optometry or an ophthalmologist” can provide a legitimate eye exam, and other, non-qualified parties offering eye exams online are making false claims to administer eyecare.

In the statement, the AOA warned that statements about online eye exams are confusing and misleading to patients and may be hindering eyecare needed to diagnose eye diseases and other health conditions.

“Anyone claiming to perform an eye exam without physically examining a patient is offering insufficient, ambiguous information and is contributing to a patient believing—incorrectly—that his or her eye health needs have been met,” the statement said. “The claims of those who market online eye testing should be thoroughly scrutinized and evaluated.”

In addition to determining visual acuity during a routine examination, the statement continued, optometrists are able to diagnose and manage eye and general health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, which the alleged online marketers do not have the ability to do.

“To help safeguard consumers, the AOA is closely monitoring internet-linked assertions about eye exams without doctors,” said Mitchell T. Munson, OD, AOA present. “And, we’ll play an even more active role in fact-checking false claims.”

For a guide to the components of a comprehensive eye exam, visit aoa.org.