New Yorkers in need of an eye exam could soon get their check up from a smartphone.
Blink is a return to the house call-style medical administration of yesteryear, and will bring $75 exams to the home or workplace. Given by professional technicians — technicians, not optometrists or doctors — the exam generates results that are sent off to actual medical professionals who can then prescribe lenses if necessary and email you additional information.
One of the primary pieces of technology that enables the service is a smartphone, which is used to measure the prescription strength of your current lenses through the Blink app. The app is also used to generate red and green beams of light, which are shined on a person’s eyes to measure focusing errors by calculating the difference between the beams on screen and how much a person adjusts them. A third device acts as a stand-in for the phoropter (that gizmo with all the lenses at the optometrist’s office), helping determine the strength of lenses a person needs.
A Blink exam will run about 20 minutes, and prescriptions can be written and sent within 24 hours. The idea was first put to test in 2013, and Blink has been testing the service on hundreds of patients over the past year. If the trial run in New York City goes as planned, Blink expects to widen its presence and open in additional markets.
Blink is another addition in a growing line of smartphone-driven diagnostic tests that make it easier to get medical help without going through the hassle of a typical doctor’s office. Other devices like CellScope for ear examinations and the IndieGoGo funded Scanadu for vitals can make life easier for people and medical professionals by cutting down on the number of people going through medical services and making information more readily available for doctors and practitioners.