Getting an in-person, in-office medical appointment is no longer a given during these pandemic-ridden times. In the past, getting vision checked (and eyewear prescriptions filled) absolutely required a visit. But a new disrupter company, EyeQue, aims to change that using innovative and ingenious at-home vision test products.
EyeQue sells vision testing devices based on MIT patented technology that work in tandem with your cell phone. These devices, along with an annual membership (first year is free) to EyeQue, tests, records, and tracks your vision. Then, using your results, you can order glasses and contact lenses online. For contact lenses, there are additional measurements relative to the shape of the eye which EyeQue’s tests don’t currently provide; users sometimes work with their eye doctor to use the EGNs to order new contacts from home.
This new service is quite prescient, considering the vast numbers of people with vision impairment. According to Healthmarkets, this is the state of the country’s eyes:
- 1 in 3 people have astigmatism.
- About 14.2 million people over age 40 have hyperopia (farsightedness).
- Over 150 million Americans wear eyeglasses and 37 million wear contact lenses to treat refractive errors.
Economical for Families
The disease risk prevention aside, EyeQue is great for families with multiple kids. Children’s eyesight can change rapidly, and one of the EyeQue devices can come in handy for regular eyesight checks and corrections for children. One device can be used for everyone in the family, as long as each family member has their own EyeQue account (less than $5 per person).
The cost of the device depends on which one; EyeQue offers three options. Both the VisionCheck and the Personal Vision Tracker are refractive error tests, which measure what’s needed for corrective glasses. According to EyeQue marketing strategist Gloria Consola, both are “ideal for adults who wear glasses or contacts, and want to take advantage of the convenience and cost savings for online eyeglass retailers.”
The VisionCheck is top of the line and will “automatically rotate the eyecup between measurements, providing a faster, more comfortable experience,” Consola told Parentology. The Personal Vision Tracker costs less and uses a manual eyecup rotation. But both pair with a smartphone and the EyeQue app for a self-administered eye test.
The third option is the EyeQue Insight, a vision screener that checks your ability to see 20/20. “You can test with or without your glasses or contacts to determine if it’s time to get an updated prescription. The Insight is particularly valuable to families with children” Consola explained. “Our vision develops most rapidly between the ages of 6 – 18 and kids can suffer from blurry vision, affecting their performance at school and social interactions. The Insight allows parents to track vision changes in less than 1 minute, as often as they want.”
EyeQue Works Even If You’ve Had Eye Surgery
Many adults have had corrective eye procedures such as LASIK and cataract surgery. Luckily, EyeQue’s technology works for those who’ve already had operations.
“In fact, we’ve had lots of interest from the eye care community who would like to integrate our products into their telehealth programs. Insight in particular can assist with periodic follow up visits related to post-surgery cataract and Lasik recovery and other treatments like OrthoK,” Consola said. “The ability to remotely monitor patient recovery not only provides welcome time savings and convenience for patients, but saves ‘chair time’ and improves efficiencies for the doctor.”
Good for Those Who Lack Vision Insurance
One of the peculiarities of the American medical insurance system is the idea that vision coverage is somehow a separate entity from the rest of the policy. Although some are offered vision coverage through their employer, many lack any vision coverage at all. NPR recently reported that “According to a 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as many as 16 million people in the United States have undiagnosed or uncorrected “refractive” errors in their vision that could be fixed with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery.”
While EyeQue cannot completely replace a visit to the eye doctor, (which involves checking not just refraction but for eye diseases), it can cut down on visits connected to small changes in vision. Paying a $20 annual fee plus the cost of the device (that can be used repeatedly) is far less expensive than an office vision check not covered by insurance.
EyeQue has also introduced a new “try on glasses” program. For $19, you can order a pair of temporary glasses in your new prescription. If they work, you can move forward and order pricier ones with total confidence. If they don’t, return them for a full refund.
Plus, in these days of Covid-19, who wants to go to an actual doctor’s office any more than necessary? EyeQue cuts down on those maintenance visits, and gives people the ability to track vision progress for themselves…and their families.
“We believe clear vision should be a right, not a privilege and while everyone should ideally visit an optometrist annually for a full eye health exam, the reality is that many people can’t afford to or don’t have access to an optometrist,” Consola says. “Our devices are intentionally low-cost and work with just about any smartphone, making vision correction accessible to so many who otherwise haven’t had the opportunity.”