With a computer and smartphone, Opternative enables you to perform a digital eye exam. The eye exam takes 25 minutes, and within 24 hours your results are reviewed by an Ophthalmologist, and you get a prescription for your glasses and contacts that you can use anywhere.
Their service launched officially last week.
This hasn’t happened before, and Opternative is currently the only approved online eye exam. The company is registered with the FDA as a Class 1 device, and have IRB clinical trials to back up their claims.
Here’s a story about a digital health company that did things the right way. One of their founders is a graduate of optometry school, so has an actual understanding of how the eye exam works. After getting seed funding, they didn’t blow the money just on the product and marketing. Rather, they spent time and funds on IRB approved clinical trials. The results of the study can be found here.
Obviously, their service isn’t for detailed eye exams. You won’t be able to check eye pressures, dilate eyes, or check the fundus. But for the millions who only need to go to the eye doctor for prescription updates, this is massively disruptive technology. This should be hyped up and shown as a model example of how digital health can legitimately disrupt traditional healthcare delivery mechanisms.
Which is why I’m shocked it’s not getting more attention. A quick search in Google news shows a search for “Opternative” will yield 3,050 results, and by the time you’re at the bottom of the page, old stories from 2014 are showing up. Search for “self diagnosing apps”, and you get more than 10,000 results. I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but you get the point.
Here’s a company that actually created an innovative product, used clinical trials to prove its accuracy, and legitimately changes the way you would interact with your eye doctor — yet barely a blip in the digital health hype machine. Yet if you create a thermometer that plugs into an Apple Watch or another one of the billion “medical tricorders” that seem to always be so close to “self diagnosing” yet never show legitimate results — you would get more attention. Somehow that’s more “sexy”.
One of the core problems we have in digital health is the lack of understanding of what exactly changes a patient’s office visit or interaction with a health provider. What matters, and what doesn’t.