Seeing is Believing


In a previous article I have written about telemedicine. I appreciate telemedicine, “skip the trip” mindset, which in some cases, can be quite burdensome. There are many people, who have to schedule personal time off from work, for a doctor’s appointment, which usually results in at least a half day into vacation time. Scheduling time for an ophthalmology appointment can be equally challenging.

But did you know that you can have an eye exam in the convenience of your home?

An optometrist by the name of Steven Lee was in a middle of an eye exam when a patient asked him, “why can’t we do this at home?” This question to Steven Lee would change his focus and after doing exams day in and day out, he thought there must be a better way.

Did you know that the eye exam was developed in the 1800’s, and until 1921, there had been little change to an eye exam? But in 1921, the Phoropter, also known as a refractor, was invented. The refractor, is the device that we look through as the ophthalmologist says, which looks better, a or b?

Steven Lee would partner with an entrepreneur, Aaron Dallek and together they would develop the first application that would enable a patient to take an eye exam from the comfort of their home.

They called their company, Opternative and all you need is a computer. Opternative is the first online eye exam that delivers a valid prescription, signed by an ophthalmologist for glasses or contact lenses. The exam consists of images that are displayed on a screen. The user calibrates the test to their screen size by using a credit card as a measuring device, then responds to the images and answers questions to what they are seeing. In total, the eye exam takes ten minutes and costs only thirty-five dollars.

The other problem that Steven Lee would solve with Opternative, would be to help more people be able to see clearly, without the pressure that many of us experience when we go to an ophthalmologist. It is not uncommon to feel as if you have to purchase the eyewear and materials at the eye doctor office. In fact, I personally have felt bad when I just ask for a prescription.

Today, Opternative is not the only business to provide an online eye exam. Warby Parker developed an application called Prescription Check that also provides a virtual eye exam.

Opternative, nor the other online eye exam providers are stating that people should never go and get an eye exam, they are just providing an alternative to address our need to see, rather than waiting years between a checkup.

As always, we need to safely Connect and be aware of the personal identifying information that we provide. Opternative does provide a HIPAA platform and encrypts the data they receive, so check HIPAA status before doing an online eye exam and stay safely connected.

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