The statement comes as Warby Parker rolls out a vision app.
The American Optometric Association has issued a strongly worded statement condemning app-based eye exams.
"When patients rely on an app for an eyeglass or contact lens prescription, they can receive inaccurate or misleading information and potentially delay essential sight saving treatment," according to a note bearing the names of Deirdre Middleton, AOA director of strategic and advocacy communications, and Susan Thomas, associate director, public relations. "An online eye test does not completely cover any one of the 12 components of a regular in-person, comprehensive eye exam."
The letter also states: "Touting virtual technologies that are not proven and subvert care sets us all back."
The statement comes as Warby Parker prepares to roll out an app-based eye test called Prescription Check. Warby Parker's website states that the app "isn’t meant to replace a comprehensive eye exam."
The AOA mentioned Prescription Check specifically, along with Opternative.
"Through the delivery of personalized health care, doctors of optometry assure precise and healthy vision, identify and treat glaucoma and serious infections and ensure early diagnosis of immediate threats to overall health, including hypertension, stroke and diabetes, which may have no obvious signs or symptoms," the note reads. "This is precisely what makes these clinically unproven tests, like Prescription Check and Opternative, so dangerous – they give patients a false sense of security."
The AOA said optometrists "use advanced, proven technology every day."
"The progressive answer to eye and vision health care is not to focus on being the next big consumer brand or app," the organization stated. "Instead, innovators need to focus on delivering tools that help advance patient care, because 'virtual' care is no substitute for actual health care."
The organization continued: "The public should know that there’s less here than meets the eye. In fact, it would have been hard to predict that any company could offer less than the already discredited online sight apps, but that appears to be the case here."
Warby Parker plans to pilot its app over the summer.
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