I've always found it to be really hands-on when I go in to the eye doctor to get my prescription updated. I usually try on sets of contacts to make sure they feel OK, and the equipment used to test my vision seems to be important to getting the prescription. With that in mind, I was curious to see how it could be done remotely.
Read more: We tried out 7 startups that claim to make it easier and cheaper to go to the doctor. Some fell short of the hype. So on April 8, I went to Simple Contacts' website.
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I had met founder and CEO Joel Wish at an event last summer, and I had been curious to understand the new model of using telemedicine to do a contact lens check and get a new prescription. Booting up the app, I realized I didn't have to put in a password. I was signed on based on the phone number and email I gave. To start, I needed to get my old, expired prescription from my eye doctor.
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A phone call took care of that, and my prescription was soon in my inbox. I plugged in the expired prescription into the app. From there I got started with the exam, which asked me questions about my health, how I was seeing, and whether my contacts were uncomfortable. The app played video clips of a doctor who gave me instructions throughout the exam. Via Simple Contacts. Truth be told, I'm so used to my vision worsening, I expected to be turned away. Bharat Ayyar, Simple Contacts' general manager, told me that a lot of users don't get a prescription: either they don't hit the criteria, it seems like their visions worsened, or it seems like they could benefit from an in-person visit.
Vision benefits for every pair of eyes
First the test asked me to hold the phone close to my face with my contacts in. The goal is to examine if there's anything wrong with my eyes that might disqualify me from taking the test, for instance, if I had a visible eye infection.
Then I was asked to set up a few feet away from my phone and turn on my microphone and camera. I was asked to read off lines of text like I might at my doctor's office. As part of the prescription check, I had to activate audio and visuals, which was a bit tricky to do at the office.
Screenshot via Simple Contacts.
Kate Garber, chief of staff of Simple Health, the company that operates Simple Contacts, told Business Insider that the decision to record the eye exam — rather than have me click through as I had for the Warby Parker test — came at the advice of the company's medical advisory board. Even so, some optometrists don't support the online tests.
The American Optometric Association, which represents optometrists, recommends that people who use eyeglasses or contacts get their eyes checked once a year. We save more. We pass the savings on to you. We see it as our job to make purchasing eyewear as easy and affordable as possible. The latest styles and hottest trends - our super-optical stores have up to 5, frames to choose from.
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