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Get this smartphone scope and you might never have to visit an optometrist again

Today it’s possible to order virtually anything you want with a few swipes of a smartphone. But online retail works better for some things than others. Much of this depends on whether there is some part of the shopping process that’s lost if you carry out the whole transaction online. Buying prescription glasses falls into this category. It may be easy enough to pick out your chosen frames online but, if you rely on custom lenses, you still need to go into an optician to have the necessary eye tests.

Or, rather, you used to. At CES 2021, EyeQue, a leader in at-home vision testing, announced its new DIY Smartphone Vision Test, VisionCheck 2. Touted by the company as its most powerful smartphone vision test yet, it’s an optical device that attaches to a smartphone, which works with an accompanying mobile app to measure refractive error and pupillary distance.

To take their measurements, the glasses wearer uses the buttons on the device to move a set of lines closer together, or farther apart, to create a single yellow line. Based on the amount of movement, an algorithm calculates the refractive error. After at least three consistent tests are completed, the user’s EyeGlass Numbers are displayed in the app. These can then be used to order a set of prescription lenses.


Enter VisionCheck 2

“We introduced the first at-home smartphone-powered refractometer in October 2016, and have announced a suite of award-winning products since then,” Phoebe Yu, VP of Marketing at EyeQue, told Digital Trends. “Now, our next-generation VisionCheck 2 is fully reimagined for faster, easier test-taking. We developed this product over the past two years based on the feedback of our members, who have performed almost 150,000 tests using our proprietary technology. We designed a better user experience for you with a brand-new form factor, app design, and test screen that means quicker, easier, and more accurate results can be achieved by more people.”

Yu said that, while this is a time-saving tool, it’s still important that people do maintain regular eye health exams, which are crucial for identifying potential health conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. However, innovations like this mean that it is no longer necessary to go to the eye doctor solely for a vision test.

If you’re interested, VisionCheck 2 is now raising funds in the form of a Kickstarter campaign. The Early Bird pricing starts at $65, which includes a VisionCheck 2 device and a two-year subscription. An active subscription — priced at $29 per year — is needed for unlimited vision testing, unlimited access to your vision data, and access to other EyeQue products and services.

As ever, it’s worth noting the risks inherent in crowdfunding campaigns up front. But if you’re aware of these and still want to get involved, visit the Kickstarter page at the link above. Shipping is planned for May 2021.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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