Online vision testing is one of the most contentious aspects of ocular health. Consumer advocates argue that it will expand access to vision care, while opponents, primarily state and national optometric associations, contend that online testing may cause consumers to forgo a comprehensive eye exam, and that nothing can replace a comprehensive exam, including a refraction, that is performed in-office.

Recently, a middle ground has emerged that could satisfy those on both sides of the ocular telehealth debate. I’m referring to new technologies that allow consumers to take an active role in their eye health while preserving the in-person relationship between doctor and patient.

I know of two examples of this type of technology. One is EyeQue Insight, a handheld device that is advertised as a “thermometer for eyesight.” Introduced into the market last month by the EyeQue company, Insight combines an acuity vision screener with a mobile app. The device, which is being sold direct to consumers for $129, lets users see when a change in vision indicates that a doctor’s visit would be advised. Test results can be uploaded to the cloud and forwarded to the patient’s doctor to be included in their medical record. Among its uses, Insight serves as a visual screening device, allowing parents, doctors and schools to detect early onset myopia. The device can also be used by patients to monitor vision changes following cataract surgery.

Adaptica, an Italian company, is taking a different approach with Kaleidos, a mobile binocular refractometer and vision analyzer that lets consumers test their eyes when they visit their optician. The device detects refractive errors, eye abnormalities and vision problems by measuring objective refraction from -15D to +15D, and dynamic pupil response to programmable light stimulations. The optician then reviews the test results with the consumer and tells them when an eye exam is indicated.

Both consumers and practitioners are the winners in these scenarios. Consumers can be more actively engaged in their own vision care while doctors have access to new vehicles that will enable them to provide appropriate care when indicated. These technologies represent an important step forward that will result in more people having healthier eyes.

Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology
akarp@jobson.com