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Get a professional eye exam at home on your smartphone

Get a professional eye exam at home on your smartphone
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Is there anything left that our incredibly smart smartphones can't do? It seems like everyday another new app comes out that does some new clever thing. Earlier I wrote about apps that can translate foreign languages or even repel mosquitoes. In another columns I've described apps to help you sleep better or measure anything without a ruler. But are you ready to add eye exams to the list of things you depend upon your smart phone for?

Remember when I told you that staring at too many screens for too long can do serious damage to your eyes? According to the Vision Council's latest survey, 70% of tech users regularly experience digital eye strain, aka the blurry vision and dry eyes you get when you've been staring at a computer, smartphone, TV or other screen for a few hours.

On top of that, a different Vision Council study from 2008 found that more than 130 million Americans didn't get an eye exam in over a year.

These are somewhat startling statistics, but now there's a new startup that wants to help your eyes by providing you with a home eye test.

The new service is called Blink and it brings the eye doctors to you by sending a team of technicians to your home or office to test your eyesight. But they won't be lugging around heavy and expensive equipment to do it. They will be using cheaper, portable and mobile solutions, in part powered by smartphones.

According to Buzzfeed:

The smartphone’s camera, computer, and network power much of Blink’s jargony equipment. A phone clicks into a device called the Netra, which measures the optical power of your eyes through an interactive test, and the Netrometer, which detects the prescription of an existing pair of glasses, and then wirelessly sends those measurements to an optometrist. A third machine, the Netropter, allows patients to try out prescriptions. All these inventions, Blink says, can replace up to $20,000 of immobile optometric equipment. If a prescription ends up incorrect, a patient can get a free retest, the company says.

Once these professionally-trained assistants collect the data, they send it to a separate group of optometrists who then analyze the data and can prescribe the right prescription. They also can't replace an actual doctor if you have a serious problem, but they can refer you to one that can help, if need be.

The service is also till in its infancy. There are only two optometrists on board, along with five technicians. It's only being tested in New York City and won't accept your insurance. It also will not provide contact lenses.

Other than those initial road blocks, Blink could be a game-changer among many other apps that are looking to revolutionize the industry. Click here for a look into another app that wants to help correct your vision.

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Source: Buzzfeed
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