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Please just go to your ophthalmologist

The unnecessarily complicated story of how an irresponsible adult got new glasses.
Photo : Victoria Song ( Gizmodo )

You should go to the ophthalmologist more than every twelve years. This is called being grown up and having common sense. However, I am bad at growing up and somehow found myself in my early thirties, wearing a very outdated recipe. How bad was it? I was at the point where, after leaving the subway, I had to remove my iPhone and zoom in on the next street with the camera to see which way to go.

What is it?

home test to check your prescription


I check my recipe in my pajamas. Order glasses online via app.

No like

I still had to go to the ophthalmologist. The doctor's prescription was more accurate.

That's why I took the chance to test EyeQue VisionCheck. For $ 70, you can apparently check your eyesight through an "optical smartphone attachment" and then actually order glasses online. As a person with telephone fear and a deep existential hatred of medical practices, a dream comes true. At first I was worried that something like this could work in any measure. When I saw that EyeQue had won the CES 2019 Innovation Award, I was a little reassured that the worst thing that could happen was that I got floor-level glasses. While some CES Innovation Awards are crazy (This Umay Rest Thermal Meditation Band ?), They are also awarded for legitimate products such as the Lenovo Yoga Book C930 or the Sony WH- , Headphone 100xM3 .

The idea behind the EyeQue is that it's essentially a miniature miniature version of this large piece of equipment in the office of your ophthalmologist – an auto-extractor. You know that a huge machine you sit and stare at a picture of a blurry house or a hot air balloon until it gradually becomes sharp. (It's used to gauge your recipe before refining it with a Phoropter while looking at a "Big E" card.) Here's how it works: Download the EyeQue first Download VisionCheck app for iOS or Android and attach the mini-refractometer to the screen of your phone. Then you stick it to your eye and at the end you see two discrete lines – one green and one red. Their main task is to merge the green and red lines into a yellow one using some touch sensors on the side of the device. They do this about eight times per eye, giving a test together. This somehow measures how light is broken into your eye and your pupil, and the app issues a prescription.

The second half of the test uses plastic eyeglasses to measure the distance between your pupils – or the distance between your pupils. You put on the glasses, take a selfie with the app and then mark the center of your pupils and the goggle bridge with a few little green X's. If you're used to getting your glasses out of a store, this probably is not a measurement of you already heard. Conversely, online services such as Warby Parker, GlassesUSA and Zenni Optical all rely on the interpupillary distance to give you the best possible fit.

I look stupid.
Photo : Sam Rutherford ( Gizmodo )

If that sounds crazy, it's kinda. You will look stupid. I definitely did. To learn how to do the test properly, I had a Skype demo with the EyeQue people. At the same time I got quite a few glances from confused colleagues. It also takes about 15 minutes to really get a feel for what you should do, even though the app contains tutorials that can help you. I also found the sensors somewhat difficult to press, which means they are probably not the best for the elderly or those with reduced mobility in their hands. EyeQue has recommended performing at least three tests to verify accuracy. However, since the last eye test was so long ago, it was recommended to repeat the test three times for safety reasons. All in all, it took about an hour to finish 6 tests. Once that was done, I ordered new glasses, which arrived about two weeks later.

As I expected, sitting over my computer screen for years meant that my eyesight had deteriorated. My old recipe jumped from -7 in each eye to -7.75. The cylindrical measure for my right eye went from -1.25 to -2.25. My right eye size remained roughly the same, going from 170 to 164. My left eye, however, went from 10 to 29.

But how exactly were these values ​​really? Sure, when I put on the pair I ordered from EyeQue, my first thought was, "Oh, those things should look that far away." That is, fine print or removed characters were still blurry. When I closed my left eye, it became much more confusing. Many moons ago, a doctor told me that my eyes were "tragically bad" because of severe astigmatism. I wondered if my vision was still blurry because EyeQue was not as bad with eyes as I was. To find out, I had to absorb it, use my health insurance and see an ophthalmologist.

These three buttons allow you to align a red and a green line. That somehow measures the refraction of light in your eyeball.
Photo : Victoria Song ( Gizmodo )

So I started. The doctor not only found that I had many, many problems with my eyes (I do not sleep with contacts), but also asked me to throw the EyeQue in the trash. After an eye test, she found that my prescription was actually -9 on the right and -8 on the left eye. Apart from that the cylinder and axle measurements were relatively similar. I was still -2.25 and 165 on the right and -1.25 and 15 on the left. That did not seem to be different, but my ophthalmologist thought differently. When she looked at the EyeQue readings, she realized that it was far worse not to catch my right eye than my left – a fact I vaguely remembered that my pediatrician had told me. To get the point home, she let me try to read letters from a spreadsheet with the recipe she had written for me, and then with the one EyeQue had given. With my ophthalmologist's prescription, things were certainly much clearer. (That is, my right eye is so bad that my doctor said it's unlikely that I'll ever get 20/20 vision, even with glasses.)

In the opinion of my doctor, something like EyeQue would probably be okay for someone with a low prescription, without more complex issues like astigmatism. She also quickly pointed out that this was not a good idea for contacts, and emphasized that devices can not diagnose severe conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts or glaucoma. Not that EyeQue claims it's one of those things – it does not. But I can see how easy it can be to combine the pursuit of vision with general eye health. Similarly, the Apple Watch is sometimes referred to as a device that may save your life just because it is now monitoring for irregular heart rate or arrhythmia. Just because an Apple Watch does not sound an alarm does not mean you're free and free. If EyeQue does not detect any deterioration in vision, it does not mean that your eyes are in perfect condition.

When you look into the refractometer, you see a red and a green line. During the tests you have to align them into a single yellow.
Photo : Victoria Song [ Gizmodo )

While EyeQue eventually won a CES Innovation Award, this is not a substitute for FDA approval. Sure, it sounds impressive, but winning an award is not the same as obtaining certification from a government agency.

I have returned to EyeQue with the concerns of my ophthalmologist and my different outcomes. An EyeQue spokesperson emailed me, "There is not a magic number, and ophthalmologists generally think that deviations of up to 0.5 diopters are acceptable – that is, if you went to another ophthalmologist that same day, you probably would

EyeQue also said that the results I received with this test are similar to what my ophthalmologist gave me, which seemed strange to me given the response of my ophthalmologist It also told me that 90 percent of their surveyed customers said that glasses they ordered through EyeQue had the same (33 percent) or better (53 percent) performance than previous couples, and the EyeQue glasses I ordered were It's also true that the glasses I got with my ophthalmologist's prescription were even better Vision is important and it's obvious that I'm the bestm would have resembled recipe for my money.

These white frames measure the distance between the pupils – a measure you need to order glasses online.
Photo : Victoria Song [ Gizmodo )

"EyeQue was developed to encourage more people to spend more time between visits to the doctor's office. The convenience of having these devices at home means you can always run a quick test if you feel that your vision or that of your family has changed.

The last bit sounds fair. Unless I still have to go to my eye doctor, who probably checks my eyesight every time, what's it all about? Savings? A prescription check at Warby Parker's store costs $ 40, and you could probably find local opticians at similar prices. This is relatively affordable, even if you have no insurance. If you have sight insurance, a routine eye exam is likely to be insured to some extent – my co-payment was $ 30. Both cases are cheaper than the $ 70 EyeQue. If the real cost of eyeglass frames and lenses is the problem, EyeQue will not really solve it. I am not convinced that this is a good way to continue to work on your health. After all, it took 12 years to feel that my vision had changed and that I might need an investigation. Besides, it could only be my doctor, but she found my EyeQue results unconvincing or helpful.

The recipe I got here did not make my right eye much worse than my left – though the cylinder and axis measurements were close to each other.
Photo : Victoria Song ( Gizmodo )

So, if not savings, is it practical? Although I found that EyeQue is easier to use with the tests I have done, I would not call it easier to tell my ophthalmologist if something is clearer or less clear. Sure, it was cool that I could spend an hour at home in my jams and stare into a tube attached to my phone. But that hour added up about the time I spent filling in forms, waiting, and finally being examined by the doctor. Ordering glasses over EyeQue and ordering it took about the same amount of time.

The most valuable thing I learned from this experience was that I had to go to the ophthalmologist. EyeQue would probably say that was the goal all the time. I would consider this useful for anyone living in a remote area where it is not easy to see an ophthalmologist. It could also be useful for the disabled. Or if your only pair of glasses broke down and you just needed a pair of new glasses without worrying about insurance or looking for an optician.

That is, if you do not have the main reason for being an ophthalmologist is laziness – for the privilege of taking eye exams at home, you really do not have to pay $ 70. Especially not when cheaper options are available. Do not be like me. Suck it up. Go Have your eyes checked.


  • The $ 70 kit comes with a mini-refractometer and goggles to check pupil distance.
  • For accuracy at least 3 tests must be performed. There is a learning curve for using the refractometer.
  • When testing the EyeQue came closer, but not as close as an actual optician.

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