What is an online eye test?

An online eye test can be a good way to find out if you should be wearing glasses or contact lenses, however it should never be a replacement for a visit to the optician.

Find out more about visiting the optician

What you should know about having eye tests online

If you are thinking about having an online eye test, you will find plenty of options available. Nowadays, this can even include tests administered using iPhone and Android technology.

These eye tests can be an effective way to carry out a basic evaluation of your eyesight. However, they are mainly preliminary assessments, and should not be seen as a replacement for tests administered by a trained professional optician.

How do online eye tests work?

In some ways, online vision assessments are similar to normal tests carried out by opticians. They can assist in identifying conditions like colour blindness, spatial awareness problems, astigmatism, the dominance of one eye over the other and generally poor visual sharpness. They may employ tools like the familiar Ishihara colour test and optician's eye charts. Online eye tests also usually include a question and answer element, which is used in conjunction with eye charts. When complete, you will receive a full summary of the assessment results, including suggestions about your vision.

Snellen Eye Chart Professional Eye Test Ishihara Colour Test

How good is my vision?

These questions occur regularly in online eye tests. If you answer yes to them, then it makes sense to arrange an appointment with your optician as soon as possible.

  • 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 experienced blurred sight?

  • If you are 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?

Should I choose to have a formal eye examination by my optician?

It is important to remember that online eye tests should not replace formal eye examinations by professional opticians. Consult your optician whatever the results of your online test. This is because online tests tell you nothing about whether you require contact lenses or glasses. Person to person examinations can also allow experts to detect the signs of eye diseases and other conditions such as diabetes, strokes, MS and high blood pressure.

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. Check to see whether you can get a free eye test on the NHS, or via high street opticians. For others, the cost will be around £20. If you live in Ireland the standard cost for an eye test is around €32.