Ever had to schedule an eye exam? It’s a hassle.
You need to take time off of work or away from major projects. Then you’ll need to designate travel time to and from the optometrist’s location. A major problem if you’re not using metropolitan transit, as the comprehensive tests sometimes require a wingman to accompany you. You’ll also need to consider the time the test is taken and then pay the subsequent fees. Said fees, when added to prescription and product costs, can rival that of a doctor’s visit.
The eye exam startup, Opternative, stands to change all of that. The company itself has launched the world’s first at home refractive eye exam. Whereas a visit to the optometrist can take up to 3 hours and cost upwards of $100, the Opternative test will take only 20 minutes of your time and charges a one-time fee of $30. In addition, the test is accurate enough to recommend a prescription for corrective lenses. This prescription is then reviewed by a local optometrist or ophthalmologist for validation, another service offered by Opternative, and forwarded to you for use. No hassle, no rescheduling, no time off work necessary. In short, a major innovation.
The Chicago based startup, founded by Dr. Steven Lee and entrepreneur Aaron Dallek, has managed to empower eye patients while simultaneously reducing the cost of eye care. Thus far Opternative has been able to acquire over $2 million in total capital over 3 Rounds of investing with Chicago Ventures being one of a dozen investors in the startup’s foundation. The final round of funding closed on November 25, 2014.
Though not necessarily the first online eye exam, Opternative is the first to offer legitimized, medical industry level services. The website will even assist you in pursuing personal assistance with licensed eye doctors in the area. The company even sets guidelines for age and additional health considerations, as well as encourages feedback from current users.
It will be interesting to follow Opternative through its development. As devices become more powerful and more sensitive, these kinds of tests will only become more accurate.
Other projects of a similar nature have already been seen, such as the Qualcomm Tricorder project, aimed at making a device not unlike the “Tricorder” from the science fiction franchise “Star Trek.” There are even blood pressure monitors on the iTunes app store.
With such a focus on the changing landscape of healthcare in the United States, and healthy living across the globe, startups such as Opternative have their work cut out for them. However, the benefits of such innovation will be a happier, healthier, more empowered population.