In the News

Oct 24, 2016

What You Can’t See: Special Interests Blocking Contact Lens Innovation

By Brian McNicoll –

Before long, perhaps, you will be able to give yourself an eye exam using your phone and even use the results of your exam to order your own glasses or contact lenses.

Scientists are increasingly concluding routine eye exams need not involve optometrists, and some even suggest this could lead to fewer problems with contacts or glasses, according to new data.

There already are a variety of apps that administer various eye tests, complete with the familiar black-on-white letters to be identified and other features. There is an app with it that allows your phone’s camera to see into and behind retinas and actually look through the eyes at the human brain.

These technologies being used in Africa, where doctors say 80 percent of the people who are blind there could be cured with proper diagnosis, technology and care.

Elsewhere, another such app, called Opternative, provides a 25-minute “appointment” with your computer and smartphone, then delivers results from board-certified ophthalmologists that have proven as accurate as traditional exams. An outfit from Israel developed what it calls 6on6, which lets users figure out their eye prescriptions through the manipulation of light on the eye.

Other countries increasingly are moving away from requiring optometrists to examine patients and issue prescriptions before patients are allowed to acquire eye glasses or contact lenses. Japan and much of Europe already have discarded the prescription requirement, and others are considering it.

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