‘Playing the niches’: telemedicine disrupting the optical industry with a 5 min vision exam

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/0329171903a-e1491509704867.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] This Editor visited a ‘demo evening’ for Smart Vision Labs, which has developed an iPhone based system that takes a basic vision exam for fitting glasses or checking contact lenses that takes just five minutes. The system uses wavefront technology that takes photos of each eye for refraction measurements, including pupillary distance, and some patient questions, which are key to getting an accurate glasses prescription. The telemedicine part is that the digital data is stored and forwarded to a licensed ophthalmologist, who reviews it for basic conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Smart Vision then emails the vision provider with the results and prescription within 24 hours, also storing it for the patient in a secure site they can access with a login.

The SVOne Enterprise (pictured) is the third generation of the original device developed by founder Yaopeng Zhou, PhD and Marc Albanese, who met while graduate students in electrical engineering at Boston University, working on research in adaptive optics at Boston’s Schepens Eye Research Institute. While MBA students, they revived their optical interest based on market opportunity. Some barriers to vision health they wanted to disrupt: the general shortage of ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians; the reluctance of many people to have their eyes examined, cost, time, and convenience. They started in 2013, raised $2.5 million between 2014-15, and capped it with a Series A of $6.1 million in 2015 through Techstar Ventures and four other investors (Crunchbase).

According to their new senior VP of marketing, Josef Katz, the SVOne can break many barriers by being quick, easy and accurate. “We’re disrupting a very established business, but we’re also expanding it.” (more…)