Updated on 

May 4, 2022

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What is Tele-Optometry?

Tele-optometry refers to eye care appointments that happen virtually. Virtual eye exams are run through live video conferencing technology rather than in person. 

You schedule an appointment online with your eye doctor and attend the virtual meeting during the chosen time. You can use your smartphone, tablet, or computer to access the live video conference. 

What Can Tele-Optometry Help With?

Digital eye exams can determine your eyeglasses or contacts prescription.

They are also very accurate at diagnosing:1

  • Conjunctival hemorrhage
  • Zonal degeneration of the cornea
  • Eyelid tumors
  • Pterygium
  • Corneal scarring
  • Keratitis

As technology develops, new use cases for tele-optometry will be discovered.

DigitalOptometrics: How Telehealth Eye Exams Work

DigitalOptometrics has recently introduced a new technology that enables eye doctors to perform comprehensive eye exams remotely via real-time video conferencing. 

A digital eye exam is similar to an in-office test but much more convenient because you don't have to leave your home. The main disadvantage of tele-optometry is that eye exams are less detailed than in-office exams.

A tele-optometry eye exam typically consists of three steps, including:

1. Collect Patient Information

Your optometrist will ask a series of questions before beginning the eye exam. These questions may include those related to your insurance, medical history, allergies, and medications. 

They will also ask if you have a history with certain eye diseases and conditions, such as:

2. Perform Eye Exam 

After the information is updated, the licensed optometrist will move on to the pre-screening exam. It is essential to have proper high-speed internet access to ensure the video is of high-quality.  

The pre-screening portion of a remote eye exam may include the following tests:

Autorefraction

This test uses an autorefractor-keratometer to get an estimate of your eyeglass prescription.

Lensometry

This test verifies the prescription in your current eyeglasses.

Retinal imaging

This imaging test takes a detailed picture of the back of your eye with a fundus camera. It takes an image of your retina. 

Non-contact tonometry

This test takes your eye pressure as part of a glaucoma screening. 

Subjective refraction test

This occurs after the pre-screening tests. This is to determine the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of your eyes.

During an in-office eye exam, your doctor uses an eye chart and different lenses. They switch between blurry and clear lenses and use your responses to determine your eyeglass prescription. 

During a tele-optometry subject refraction test, your optometrist will perform the test in real-time using a digital optical system.

While remote eye exams are can determine your prescription effectively, they may be less accurate than in-person exams. 

3. Review Exam Results & New Prescription

After the pre-screening tests and eye exam, your eye doctor will discuss your eye health status and any concerns.

If your prescription changes, they will recommend new contact lenses and eyeglass frames. You can order the new lenses directly from your eye care provider or buy them online.

Related Pages

5 Cited Research Articles
  1. Qing-feng, Lian, et al. “The Clinical Specificity and Sensitivity of Tele-Ophthalmology Screening for Ocular Surface Disease Based on Fundus Photography.” Ophthalmology in China, 2 Aug. 2016.
  2. Sharma, Mohita, et al. “Tele-Ophthalmology: Need of the Hour.” Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Wolters Kluwer - Medknow, July 2020.
  3. Digitaloptometrics I Tele-Optometry Exams.” Digital Optometrics, 7 Nov. 2019.
  4. Nagra, Manbir, et al. “Could Telehealth Help Eye Care Practitioners Adapt Contact Lens Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic?” Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, vol. 43, no. 3, 2020, pp. 204–207., doi:10.1016/j.clae.2020.04.002.
  5. Jaymeni, et al. “Patient experience of tele-optometry in the comprehensive eye examination; a pilot study.” ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract, June 2020.
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
Alyssa is a content contributor and lead editor for Vision Center. She has a Master's degree in Journalism and over 6 years of professional experience writing expert-backed content in the health/medical space, including eye care and vision health. Her goal is to provide up-to-date information that is easy to understand, medically accurate, and engaging.
https://www.visioncenter.org/author/alyssa/
Author: Alyssa Hill  | UPDATED May 4, 2022
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Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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