Across many parts of healthcare, we’re seeing where various healthcare services are being pushed to the home. Some of the most common right now are diabetic care (which was a leader in this), heart care (see this interview with AliveCor), and a plethora of other healthcare wearable devices that measure steps, heart rate, etc etc etc. Of course, this shift has only been accelerated by COVID-19 which has forced people to want care in their home vs a doctor’s office.
Given this trend, it’s no surprise to hear that we’re seeing the same thing happen with vision tests to the home as well by a company called EyeQue. In order to understand how it works, EyeQue was nice enough to send me their full EyeQue Vision Monitoring Kit so I could see how it works first hand.
I’ll admit that getting the package of devices was a bit overwhelming at first. As a device nerd I loved it, but it was a bit intimidating to know where to start and how all the various devices worked. Although, once I started diving in, it made sense. Just be ready for a bit of a learning curve at first.
The two devices at the core of the offering are the EyeQue Insight and the EyeQue VisionCheck. The Insight tests your vision similar to an eye chart and can be done with and without glasses. Plus, it can also test for colorblindness and your ability to see contrast. The VisionCheck is used for those who need glasses to be able to verify if their vision has changed using a self-administered manual refractor, the at-home alternative to the $15,000+ autorefractor you find at every eye doctor. It also includes their PDCheck pupillary distance tool. This tool is used to measure pupillary distance which is an important number to have when you order new glasses online from one of the many eye glass retailers out there. Here’s a great image which shows the EyeQue at home vision testing package ecosystem:
The EyeQue Insight was great because it’s a test that all of my family could use. It probably says something about me that I was really happy to find out that indeed I didn’t need glasses and passed the eye test with 20/20 vision. The results were more interesting with my wife who has glasses which she rarely wears. We tested her without her glasses and indeed the test showed that she needed glasses. Then, we had her do the vision test with glasses and discovered that she must have the wrong prescription since she still wasn’t seeing 20/20. More on that later when we talk about her experience using the VisionCheck product.
What was even more fun was testing my 4 children. In fact, that’s one of the nice features of the EyeQue Insight product. I could use it on as many people as I want in their buy once, use forever model. They say it works for those over 6 years old, but it could probably work even younger with some help from mom or dad and the included remote. Although, we never had a need to use the remote.
In our case, 3 of our 4 kids have had glasses at various points in their life. However, two of them were told they didn’t need them anymore. I was interested to see if that was indeed still the case. No doubt there was a bit of a learning curve for them to learn the EyeQue Insight “Fruit Ninja” style of testing. For the 3 that no longer wear glasses, the Insight eye test said that one was fine and the other two we should keep an eye on. I’m planning to test them again to see how the results will vary. If it keeps reporting issues, I’ll be sure to have a professional check them out. I actually think that’s one of the most comforting parts of this product. I can test my children’s eye sight as much as I want at no cost. Certainly I’ll take them to a professional every two years for an eye health exam, but this test will help me know if there’s a need to do in-between visit, so I don’t waste my time going for a visit that’s not needed. Until now I had no way to know if vision was an issue for my kids or not. On the one that still uses glasses for reading, the test came back 20/20 for her since the Insight tests for visual acuity, which is distance vision.
Beyond the vision test, the EyeQue Insight also has a simple color blind test as well. We already know that my three sons are Red/Green colorblind (One of our favorite family games is “What color is that?”), but it was fun to test them anyway. The results definitely confirmed that my sons are colorblind. I was told that EyeQue offers a more detailed Color Blind Test on their site which I’m planning to try with my sons later.
The final test available on the EyeQue Insight product is a contrast sensitivity test. While this test didn’t really apply to my family, it was designed to help people indicate certain conditions like cataracts. I may try it with my parents later once COVID quarantine is over.
Moving on to the EyeQue VisionCheck product, my wife tested this one out since this one needed someone who didn’t have 20/20 vision. This test was a bit harder to do than the vision, colorblind, and contrast tests above. Although, after a time or two it wasn’t too bad for my wife either. As mentioned above, the VisionCheck product produces all the numbers you need to order glasses. In fact, integrated with the VisionCheck product is the ability to order inexpensive Try-On glasses based on those numbers. It’s a pretty genius way for a user to be able to see if the EyeQue VisionCheck product really works or not. We’re just ordering my wife’s Try-On glasses now, but once we get them we’ll test her vision with the Try-On glasses using the Insight vision test to see if it really does improve her eye sight.
The good news is that if the Try-On glasses don’t work, EyeQue will refund the money for them. If they do work, my wife can order new glasses using the information from VisionCheck in frames she likes. Plus, my wife can keep testing her vision using VisionCheck as needed to see how her vision continues to change. As we’ve seen from her current prescription, the prescription is no longer accurate and we had no idea that was the case. There is a small subscription fee to be able to use the VisionCheck service. We’ll let you know what happens once we get the Try-On glasses.
All in All, I was impressed by the breadth of vision products from EyeQue. It did take a little bit of time to help me understand how to use the products, but now it’s a piece of cake. Also, it does take a little time to understand some of the nuances of what’s being tested. Granted, I’m someone who takes vision for granted since I have good eye sight. Those who already have glasses will have a shallower learning curve and more motivation to ensure their glasses are optimal. Plus, I really love the EyeQue Insight product which I can use on as many people as I want. That really excites me with my children. I no longer have to guess if their vision is causing issues for them. Every couple months I can have them take the quick test and know how they’re doing.
EyeQue is continuing to innovate on this technology as well. In fact, their VisionCheck 2 product is currently on KickStarter if you want to check out a preview of their next product at a discounted rate.
It never ceases to amaze me how people continue to improve at home health monitoring and measurement. There are so many ways we are flying blind as patients and these new tools give us insight into what’s happening (puns intended). I love that the EyeQue helps me and my family to have another layer of information into something I didn’t understand well before.