Warby Parker’s home eye testing app, executive hire

click to enlargeAn app for a home eye test–but is it wise? Warby Parker, the well-known online eyewear company, is testing an app that enables an eye test at home. Currently ‘Prescription Check’ is being tested on Warby Parker customers between the ages of 18 and 40 in California, Florida, New York, and Virginia. Initially, Warby Parker uses the information to confirm that the existing prescription is still correct; updated prescriptions are in the future.

Without brick-and-mortar locations, the company is obviously using this to retain current customers and gather in new ones, away from local optician stores–the market that Smart Vision Labs is courting with its optician-administered, ophthalmologist-reviewed five-minute vision exam to lure in one-stop-shopping-seeking millennials [TTA 11 Apr] for both glasses and checking contact lenses. Both companies recommend a professional eye exam at least every two to three years.

Unlike Smart Vision Labs, Warby Parker is already being opposed by the American Optometric Association (AOA) which disdains DIY eye exams. South Carolina also recently passed legislation banning smartphone-based eye exams. Prescription Check is also similar to Opternative, which charges $40-60 for an online exam including contact lenses. Healthcare Dive, TechCrunch, Mobihealthnews

Warby Parker’s seriousness on eye testing is underlined by their announcement of David Rose as their new VP of Computer Vision. Mr Rose was the founder of the Vitality GlowCaps bottle-top med reminder, purchased by what is now NantHealth in 2011. He was also one of the first digital health entrepreneurs this Editor met at her first Connected Health Symposium in 2009, where he showed the GlowCap 1.0 to all who would listen! Mobihealthnews 

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