Are Mobile Eye Exams Telemedicine?


AOA and others are all fighting the advent of mobile eye exams like this is a new thing. Online eye exams and apps have been around it seems forever or at least for 6-8 years. Back in 2011 this was our list of 19 online ‘eye exams:

  1. At Home Eye Exams
  2. Random Eye Chart
  3. iExam
  4. EyeXam
  5. iChart 2000– Phone and iPod touch Requires iPhone OS 2.2.
  6. A Simple Eye Exam
  7. Eye Exam Photography
  8. Vision Test
  9. Vision Test 3M (under healthcare and Fitness)
  10. Netra Cell Phone based Optometry Solutions– mobile-phone application that, coupled with a small plastic device held over the screen, can determine users’ eyeglass prescriptions. Called NETRA or near-eye tool for refractive assessment
  11. iCanSee, the first iPhone application ihttp://www.
  12. New Smart Phone Turns Into Optometrist
  13. IChart for iDoctors With iPhones
  14. Eye Check Lite– (Medical) work, study or tourism in china, especially need to drive, often need to accept the Chinese standard of professional eye examination. You can use this software, ahead of familiar eye sight inspection methods of China , can also be used at any time to monitor the change of your eye sight.
  15. Eye Test Pro– (Medical) $.99 Eye Test Pro is the ultimate app for Eye Test Professionals. It includes all you need to conduct a Professional Eye Exam, including the following features:
  16. Helsana Eye Test -(Healthcare and Fitness) Hold your iPhone with your arm stretched out and adjust its position so that the “E” is upright at all time. The letter becomes smaller and smaller, which enables you to find out quickly how good your eyesight is. English, French, German, Italian
  17. My Eye Test (Medical) $.99- program is designed for eye examination.  eye test is random viewing with alphabet and number  Korea’s standard eye chart, based on a vision test will be.  This program is a vision test, color vision tests, foods for eye
  18. Essilor- The Vision Test
  19. iExaminer– liberates Fundus Exams 0 iExaminer from Intuitive Medical Technologies.

In a 2013 listing there were over 64 online eye exam apps. Today if you google online eye exams you will get over 24,000,000 results.

Mobile Eye Exams in Search

Originally many companies looked at mobile options for a philanthropic purpose. i.e Peek Vision and companies such as Adlens. Then the online biz started in the 1990’s and of course why not capture the consumer with an online eye exams. Add in the growth of Telemedicine and voila you have the growth of mobile eye exams. The Mobile Eye Exam and no matter how much you or any organization fights it, it is here to stay and will continue to evolve and get better.

Taking a look at the historical perspective of on demand eye exams:

Blink-Eye Netra: Originally launched in 2010. The Somerville, Mass.-based startup specialized in smartphone-powered refraction technology Then in 2016, they took advantage of the online and convenience ordering and started to offer on demand home or business eye exams called Blink. (BetaBoston, TechCrunch)  EyeNetra.The new format allowed consumers to go online to schedule a refraction with a trained technician who comes to their location. The technicians, called “Visioneers,” take a health history and operate Blink’s proprietary optical measurement devices to conduct a vision test. Test results are then shared with a professional within Blink’s network of licensed optometrists for review, recommendations and prescriptions, if appropriate

Global Eye Ventures launched in 2013 by Nikki Iravani OD and the developers of the EyeXam a mobile application. The mobile self-help vision screening allows the patient to connect with an eye doctor. Their sponsors included VSP and Vision Source.

In 2014 after Opternative recieved over $1 Million in funding, the American Optometric Association (AOA) asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take legal action against an online vision test by Opternative, I wondered why is this so different or worse than an app? Granted this was a new physical device and usually new devices require testing and pre-market approval.

2016 1-800 Contacts owned by Luxottica decided to offer eye exams by Opternative, the issue became a little more eye- opening.  Their ‘InstaRx’ lets consumers perform a self-administered, online eye exam, renew a contact lens prescription and order contact lenses through its web site. Launched in July of 2016.

2017 Warby Parker announced they are going Mobile and want to get you to have your eye exams by the phone “We think that would increase access to eye exams,” co-founder Dave Gilboa told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s early in the process but we are excited about the potential.” Of course, besides the convenience, it’ll also provide an avenue for folks who really need their eyes looked at to get some help at home. And they raised over $100 Million to do so.

2017 Pupil Starts to offer a mobile subscription Eye Exam services with a device in Denver, Colorado.

Are on Demand ‘Mobile Eye Exam’ a Big Market?  I will say this, it will be a bigger market to come. As technology and telemedicine grows and the cost of medical grows, more companies will offer this alternative. Currently these seven companies seem to be the leaders or disruptors in the optical industry;

1.) EyeXam mobile application: Partners with sponsors and Eye Doctors.

2.) Eye Netra:  (See above)

3) EyeQue; (San Francisco, California) In November 2016 they launched on Kickstarter and within 50 days became fully funded with 3913 backers all around the world, raising a total of $134,387, exceeding their original funding goal by 538%. Personal vision tracker, eye test, order glasses all from a smartphone.

4.) MyVisionPod: This is a little different type of mobile experience. ‘myVisionPOD is a telemedicine application that uses remote eye doctors to review a patient’s vision history and the refractive results that are collected by a remote technician. The same process for providing a ‘traditional refraction’ except the doctor and technician/patient are in different physical locations but linked with electronic communications through the myVisionPOD portal.’

5.) Opternative: Opternative, offers online eye exams in 39 states, was prohibited from offering the exams in South Carolina. There are many battles between Opternative and the AOA. 

6.) Peek (UK) is a device called the Portable Eye Examination Kit (PEEK) Retina is being developed by Peek Vision. It will connect via smartphones to allow doctors to perform affordable eye exams. 

7.) Smart Vision Labs (New York)  ‘Smart Vision Exams puts together mobile autorefraction technology with a proprietary telemedicine platform that allows doctors to analyze vision test results and other data remotely. The doctor can write a digital eyeglass prescription for a patient or make a recommendation for a full eye health exam when appropriate. They just launched SVOne Enterprise to optical stores in New York to help them offer a telemedicine platform.

Smart Vision Labs

Whether you agree or disagree with on demand eye exams, the thing they will never replace is the human touch and the customer service level. Know it and prepare for the future of telemedicine.


Claire Goldsmith MidPage