New technology developed in the United States has the potential to disrupt the eye care profession by providing people with access to basic online vision tests. Test results are connected with ophthalmologists who generate and respond to the patient with a prescription.
Opternativ developers Steven Lee, a doctor of optometry and Aaron Dallek, a veteran web designer, said the test takes five to 10 minutes and costs around 75 per cent less than the cost of a traditional eye test in the United States.
He said existing online tests simply help identify a vision issue then direct the patient to see an eye doctor – they do not generate a prescription. “They’re very gimmicky. They’re all lead generators, designed to provide lucrative referrals to affiliated offline eye care professionals,” he said.
Once calibrated to an individual’s screen size the Opternative system creates images that look different depending on what the user’s prescription is. The technology tests for astigmatism, colour blindness, contrast, and distance reading. For example, Opternative accurately measures sight at different distances by asking the user for their shoe size then instructing them to take heel-to-toe steps away from their screen.
The Chicago based company has raised US$1 million in seed-funding and plans to launch the test later this year.