Super-easy, simple and convenient, online eye tests can carry out a basic evaluation of your eyesight. With just a few clicks on your computer screen or even your phone, you can test your visual acuity, estimate refractive errors, and go on to renew an expired eyeglass or contact lens prescription, hassle-free.
A quick disclaimer before we go over the online eye test basics: as handy as these online vision tests are, at the end of the day, they're just preliminary assessments. Unlike a comprehensive eye exam, with a trained professional optician, they can't check the health of your eyes, or whether you have any underlying eye diseases or eye conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.
What do online eye tests involve?
In some ways, online eye tests and in-person eye tests, with eye care professionals, are similar. They can both help with identifying colour blindness, spatial awareness problems, astigmatism, the dominance of one eye over the other and generally poor visual sharpness. Both tests also usually involve tools like the Ishihara colour test and eye charts, as seen below.
Plus, online eye tests often feature a question and answer element that can be used along with these eye charts. Some of these questions can include:
- Do you struggle to read distant road signs clearly and without difficulty?
- When you focus for prolonged periods on something, do you experience headaches?
- Focus on something around 6 metres from your eyes and cover one eye. Now cover the other eye. Do you experience blurred sight?
- If you're aged 40 and over, do you have difficulties when looking at close up images or objects?
- When using the computer for a long time, do your eyes feel watery, dry, itchy, fatigued or painful?
If you do happen to answer 'yes' to any of them, then swiftly scheduling an appointment with your optician is a must. Once you've completed your eye assessment online, you'll also receive a full summary of the results, as well as some suggestions about your vision, which you can discuss during your next physical appointment.
Do I still need an eye test with my optician?
Like we've emphasised, online eye tests should never replace in-person eye examinations. Can you still do them? Sure! They're able to help you keep track of your eyesight in between your appointments at the optician. But given that they're not able to pick up any potential problems for your peepers, and that the results aren't always accurate, regular and thorough eye tests with an eye care professional are also necessary. Plus, if you want to switch to another contact lens brand or wearing pattern, you'll always need to check with your optician first.
For complete peace of mind and to tackle any vision problems (such as myopia, hyperopia or presbyopia) or other eye conditions with professional guidance, make sure to book in an appointment with your optician. Generally, the NHS advises that anyone aged between 16 and 70 should see their optician once every couple of years. But for those aged under 16 or over 70, annual visits should be arranged. Have a look to see whether you can get a free eye test on the NHS, or via high street opticians - otherwise, the usual cost is around £20.