Life can quickly get busy and before you know it, you barely have time to take a shower or eat lunch. So why would you ever have time to get your eyes checked? Many people think that if they can see well enough to function, then an eye exam is more optional than it is a requirement.
This is an understandable notion, but it is also a wrong one. Your eyes need checkups. You wouldn’t skip out on a visit to your general doctor no matter how busy you got, would you? Of course not!
Regardless of if you truly don’t have time to visit your eye doctor or if maybe you just don’t want to go, there’s a new solution for you. Yaopeng Zhou and friend Marc Albanese banded together in 2012 to bring affordable and convenient eye care to the masses after reading that almost a billion people around the world need glasses.
Cost of Eye Care
Eye care doesn’t come cheap. Anyone with or without insurance can tell you that. Generally and eye exam can cost $50 at an optical chain such as Walmart or Costco. Or an eye exam can cost up to $250 at a clinic or private eye doctor.
These prices are what you will pay if you don’t have insurance at all or if you don’t have insurance that covers eye care. Paying $250 every year or so for an eye exam is unrealistic for a lot of people who have other more pressing bills and living expenses to pay.
Let’s not even get started on corrective eye wear and other treatments. Before you know it, your eye care expenses will be one of your more expensive expenses.
The problem lies in the price of taking care of your eyes, but also in the lack of coverage there is. Many insurers don’t include eye care in their policies because vision health is seen as a luxury and not a necessity. You’d think that our most precious sense would be treated with more respect, but it isn’t.
Smart Vision Labs
Creators of Smart Vision Labs, Zhou and Albanese thought one day, what if they could adapt optics to our smartphones? Though there are apps that will provide basic eye exams, Smart Vision Labs takes these apps a million steps further.
Their mission is clear. All they want to do is bring affordable and accessible and quick eye care to everyone. Because, as they state in their mission statement, vision care is a human right.
How Smart Vision Labs Works
Smart Vision Labs is a service available in several optical stores across the country for those without insurance. At a price as low as $40 per eye exam, it’s affordable and an incredible opportunity to get your eyes checked. Even if you think your vision is perfect, eye exams can detect the early sings of eye diseases.
Though Smart Vision Labs are by no means a replacement for traditional eye exams, they can be very useful for those with refractive errors who need corrective eye wear like eye glasses and contact lenses.
Here’s how the service works: you go to whatever optic store near you offers Smart Vision Lab services. You’ll stand in front of a camera tripod with a smartphone (most likely an iPhone) fixed to the tripod. The iPhone will be your guide through this eye exam.
You’ll be asked to answer a series of questions pertaining to your eye health and general medical history. Then, using wavefront technology your eyes will be scanned to detect any abnormalities in the eye. Then as a final step, pictures of each eye will be taken to collect data on potential refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
All this information will then be sent to an eye professional, who will then review the data sent to them to analyze your results. You should get your diagnosis within 24 hours. Once you receive that, you’ll be able to get whatever prescription is required.
All that for $40 and five minutes of your time. As far as convenient eye exams go, it doesn’t get much better than Smart Vision Labs. There is no more excuse to not have your eyes checked with this new technology.
Who Can Use Smart Vision Labs
Currently, Smart Vision Labs can only be used by those aged 18 to 60 and who have no health problems of severe eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Not a Replacement for Comprehensive Eye Exams
As excited as we are about this new technology being made available to everyone, it does have one major downfall. Smart Vision Labs cannot replace the comprehensive eye exams you receive at a doctor’s office.
Smart Vision Labs is a great innovation for getting your prescription quickly and inexpensively. This allows more people to be able to afford the proper treatment for their poor vision.
However, this service cannot detect eye diseases. You’d need to see a doctor in person at some point, although with Smart Vision Labs you may not need to see them as frequently.
Just like vision testing apps for smartphones, there is only so much accurate information that Smart Vision Labs can provide you with; albeit, the technology is much more sophisticated than that of a smartphone app.
Smart Vision Labs won’t be able to detect early signs of eye diseases. If you experience strange symptoms like eye pain, floaters, burning or sudden loss of vision, make an appointment with an eye doctor immediately.
Despite the one flaw, Smart Vision Labs is an incredible feat in the world of eye care. This technology is the first step in making eye care accessible and affordable across the country. We only hope that it can expand to other countries, especially those in need of easily accessible eye care.