Online refraction writes Rxs; outcry from optometrists in US

“Anyone claiming to perform an eye examination without physically examining a patient is offering insufficient, ambiguous information and contributing to a patients believing -incorrectly – that his or her eye-health needs have been met,” the AOA’s statent said.”The claims of those who market online testing should be thoroughly scrutinized and evaluate.”In addition to determining visual acuity during a routine examination, optometrists are able to diagnose and manage eye and general health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, which the alleged online marketers do not have the ability to do.”We’ll play an active role in fact-checking false claims.”According to Opernative, it is “coming out of stealth to get you a prescription for glasses straight from your computer or phone – with the approval of an ophthalmologist.”Opternative’s test takes five to 10 minutes and costs around $US35 — 75 per cent less than in-person examinations. With $US1 million in funding, it plans to launch this northern hisphere summer.Dr Steven Lee, OD, the co-founder of Opternative, says: “Doing eye testing day in and day out, I thought ‘there has to be a better way to do this'”. He graduated from optometry school in 2007 and has been practising ever since. He realised that with advances in computers and phones, he could probably replace the ‘What’s better? One or two’ routine.”In 2012, Dr Lee met entrepreneur Aaron Dallek, and they started the Chicago-based Opternative.The startup offers a quick, online eye examination that requires no special equipment. Once the subject’s results are reviewed by an opthamologist, they digitally write a prescription for glasses that can b e dispensed anywhere.”A Google search for ‘online eye examination’ will bring up several, but they’re not medical-grade,” Dr Lee said.”You take a few basic tests and the result is ‘you should go see an eye doctor’, but they aren’t accurate enough or legally licensed to actually give you a prescription. They’re very gimmicky. They’re designed to provide lucrative referrals to affiliated offline eye-care practitioners,”Mr Dallek said Opternative syst works because “everyone sees the world a little bit differently. Some people see it fuzzy. Some see it stretched. And about 25 per cent of people see the world clearly. We’ve created images that look different depending on your prescription.”Once the subject calibrates the test to their screen size by measuring a credit card, it shows th a series of tests for astigmatism, color blindness, contrast, and distance reading.To check for astigmatism, Opternative shows a fan of red and green lines. If there is astigmatism, the red and green bleed together into yellow that subjects can pick out to identify the angles where they have astigmatism. By asking for their shoe size and then telling th to take heel-to-toe steps away from your screen, Opternative says it can accurately measure sight at different distances.The company says that while traditional in-person eye examination practices might see Opternative as a dangerous competitor right now, the company hopes to partner with th later on.Mr Dallek says he wants Opternative to be “not just an online eye examination but the gold standard digital eye examination” that practitioners could administer in their practices.There are competitors like EyeNetra and PeekVision targeting India and Africa with auto-refractors that measure your eye itself and not how you see, but their tests aren’t accurate enough for the first world. Maybe one day Opternative’s online test could make it affordable for more people in the developing world to get their eyes checked right.For now, Opternative has raised $1million in a seed round led by Tribeca Venture Partners and Chicago Ventures to get to market. It’s currently in private alpha testing as it navigates Food and Drug Administration approval. It will take a lot of work to overcome the regulatory hurdles and become accurate enough for mass usage. But the company is now taking signups for early access, and could be available by this northern-hisphere summer.

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