One out of every 90 people in the the world suffer from correctable eye conditions that could be fixed by a pair of spectacles, according to a study published in the Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. And many of these conditions go undiagnosed.
A Kickstarter campaign hopes to change that with the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker that lets users test their eyesight with an app, a simple tool, and a standard smartphone.
“Sometime ago we became aware of an enormous proportion of the world who needs corrective eyeglasses but who, for either economic or geographic reasons, have little or no access to eye care,” John Serri, EyeQue’s chief technology officer, told Digital Trends. As smartphones grew more common and more advanced, the team behind EyeQue realized thy could develop a low-cost solution for a basic vision test.
To take the EyeQue test, users attach the small microscope to their smartphone and use the touchscreen to line up a red and green bar. This enables the app to make refractive error measurements, which are used to identify vision conditions like nearsightedness and farsightedness. After each session, the app offers a score that can be tracked and compared to previous trials.
“The test itself is more like a game [than a trip to the optometrist],” Serri said.
To be sure, EyeQue is not meant to meant to replace professional eye exams. Rather, think of it as a personal health measure — like brushing your teeth or clipping your finger nails. “We are not about replacing or challenging the optometry community,” Serri said, “rather, we want to be a linkage between eye care professionals to use technology to better connect with their patients.
“EyeQue is all about promoting eye health on a global level.”Serri added. “We want to help people everywhere learn more about their eyes and provide tools to keep eye care top of mind — even helping them to engage more frequently with their eye doctors.”
EyeQue received a CES Innovation Award for best fitness, sports, and biotech products of 2017 and was a Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation finalist. The company is also working with nonprofit TwoBillionEyes to bring its device to underserved and remote rural regions.
Just over a week remains in EyeQue’s Kickstarter campaign, which has nearly tripled its goal with over $71,000 pledged.