Newark, California-based EyeQue has launched the EyeQue Insight visual acuity screener, a device that lets consumers test their vision at home.
The device looks similar to a VR headset. It attaches to a user’s smartphone and lets them test their visual acuity as if they were in a much larger room. The accompanying app also has a version for kids that includes an animated character who walks them through the screening process.
“Our goal is to try to make the test easy to use, fast, and effective and the results are stored online,” cofounder and Chief Technology Officer John Serri told MobiHealthNews. “What can they do with the results is they can share them with an eye doctor, they can share it with their friends, and they can order online eyeglasses if they have the refraction test results.”
The test is aimed at parents of children who don’t get their eyes tested regularly in school, as well as addresses an increase in myopia and a shortage of optometrists in many parts of the world.
“When you look at the market, there are people who are covered by medical insurance, they can afford to go to an eye doctor. But there are people who aren’t at all,” Serri said. “Especially when you look at it from a global perspective, in large areas of the world there are no optometrists. There’s minimal testing of people. There’s literally hundreds of millions of people who are suffering from vision problems. And there’s all kinds of economic implications: If you can’t see, you can’t read.”
This is the second device from EyeQue. An older offering, the Personal Vision Tracker, tests refraction numbers (spherical, cylindrical, and axis figures used to determine eyeglass prescriptions) but not visual acuity.
EyeQue’s products are FDA-registered as Class 1 devices, but haven’t gone through the pre-market clearance process that would be required for Class 2. Serri says that because the company offers refractive numbers and not prescriptions, the device doesn’t fall under the category for which FDA requires further regulation. However, a similar product, Opternative’s smartphone-based eye exam, was recently warned by the FDA that it needed to seek Class 2 clearance.
Serri equates EyeQue to a home monitoring device.
“It’s analogous to blood pressure monitors or monitoring your heart rate,” he said. “You can measure it and know what it is at any time. We’re providing the equivalent of that for eyes.”
Going forward, the company has plans to add additional functionality to the Insight device, such as allowing users to get reading glasses prescriptions as well. They’re also looking for ways to partner with the industry.
“We’re going to be extending the model out so optometrists can get more involved,” Serri said. “We have an optometry advisory group that is very active, working with us on ways that we can use the technology to work with optometrists.”