Controversial online eye exam company getting more national media coverage.
Opternative – the Chicago startup that offers online refractive eye exams which produce prescriptions – is capturing the attention of national media outlets like USA Today, which profiled the company and wrote that its aiming to change the eyecare business just as Uber and Amazon disrupted other industries. The article also details some of the objections that eyecare professionals have to Opternative’s service.
To get you up to speed, Opternative’s app allows patients between the ages of 18 and 40 to take a 25-minute eye test and then receive a prescription for contact lenses or glasses for $40. (Or patients can just take the exam for free if they don’t want to pay for the prescription.) The prescriptions are written by eye doctors who review the exams and are licensed in the states in which the service is available. So far, the service operates in 33 states, and investors are funneling money into the company to make it available in more states.
Speaking with the news outlet, Opternative CEO Aaron Dallek says that the service will “ultimately lead to more people taking care of their eyes in an appropriate manner because it’s easier and more convenient” than traditional exams. But optometrist Steven Loomis, the president of the American Optometric Association, says that patients who forego seeing an eye doctor miss opportunities to have their overall eye health evaluated.