Due to my nearsightedness and astigmatisms, I have worn glasses with high index lenses since the third grade. I have my eyes checked each year by an optometrist and other than the drops to dilate my eyes, it’s a pretty stress free appointment. I know a lot of people who don’t go to a yearly eye exam and I wonder if it’s just because they don’t want to make time for the appointment. If that’s the case, the EyeQue VisionCheck is designed to allow you to quickly check your vision using a small device and your smartphone. Can it replace your eye doctor? Let’s find out.
I never realised how much I hated taking eye exams at the optometrist… until I recently started giving myself the exams. At home. And let me tell you: I will NEVER take an eye exam at my Optometrist’s office again.I know what you’re thinking. “Taking eye tests at home? There’s no way a medical professional would approve of that.”
Get this: My Optometrist was the one who recommended the at-home tests. There’s a very good reason, too…
What Causes Eyesight Problems?
Healthline tells us that, “The eyes are complex organs, with many parts that must work together to produce clear vision.” Therefore, as you might imagine, “Problems or malfunctions in any of eye parts” can cause vision problems.” Three of the most common include:
- Refractive errors – These are the errors addressed by EyeQue’s Personal Vision Tracker (more next), which are caused by light not focusing correctly inside the eye. Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism are three common types of refractive errors.
- Glaucoma and Cataracts – Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve due to the increased pressure of the fluid inside the eye, while cataracts are more common in older individuals, where the eye lens becomes cloudy.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration – Gradual damage to the cells of the macula (the area of the retina that helps us see directly in front), leading to blurred vision.
What is EyeQue VisionCheck?
The EyeQue VisionCheck is a tool that you can use to measure the lens power needed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and near vision ADD. Once the test is completed, you are given your prescription details, and can order glasses if you need them.
What’s in the box?
- EyeQue VisionCheck
- micro USB charging cable
- Attachment strap
- Cleaning cloth
- Pupillary distance glasses
- Quick start guide
In the box VisionCheck comes with an optical smartphone attachment, a safety band, PDCheck pupillary distance tool and a quick start guide. To use you’ll need a smartphone running Android 4.x or iOS 9.3 and above. Most phones these days meet this requirement, and come with the pixel per inch density of 250 or greater needed for the device to operate properly.
The optical smartphone attachment feels quality made. There’s a silicon cup at one end against which you rest your eye when taking a test, and micro-suction tape at the other end for attaching to your smartphone. The top of the device houses three touch sensors that are used when navigating the eye test. On the side is a physical power button and a charging port next to it.
To refuel, simply slot the Micro USB cord into the charging port and a USB power source at the other end. It’s useful that a standard cable is used rather than a proprietary one. Those of us who tend to have lots of gadgets often use the same cables for multiple devices.
A full charge from zero takes about an hour and a half. After that, the battery will keep going for about 2 months with average use. This equates to around 3 hours of continuous use. A quick 15 minute top-up is enough to achieve a 25% charge.
The power-button doubles as an LED indicator light. A blinking Blue colour means the device is switched on. This will turn into a solid Blue when VisionCheck is paired to your phone. A blinking Red light means the battery is low, a solid Red light that it is charging and no light means the charging is complete (or that the device is off).
Now you might be wondering how VisionCheck is different from the company’s first offering, the Personal Vision Tracker. After all, they can both be used for a refraction error test and to order glasses online.
Well, there are several important benefits to using the newer product. These combine to make doing home eye-tests much easier than before.
First, the built-in motor means the refraction test is now automated rather than manual. This allows for faster, simpler test taking. Whats more, the controls are built into device itself, so you no longer need to use your smartphone to navigate the eye test. And finally, the company has made improvements to aspheric lenses to allow for increased visibility, greater accuracy and a faster test experience.
How EyeQue VisionCheck works
First let’s define what VisionCheck is and isn’t.
This is a refraction measurement device that uses your smartphone and an accompanying app to determine your EyeGlass Numbers from the comfort of your home. You can then use these to order actual glasses online from select retailers. Included in the package is a PDCheck pupillary distance tool.
Because this is user administered test it does not provide a medical prescription. This is why EyeQue came up with the term EyeGlass Numbers. Using the device at least once per month ensures you always have up-to-date results and a snapshot of how your vision is changing over time.However, you’ll be mistaken if you think this spells an end to your eye doctor visits. Occasional comprehensive eye health exams are still needed. This is because they consist of a wide range of tests for glaucoma, cataracts and other conditions. You only get the refractive error with VisionCheck, and while this is important there are other tests required for a complete picture of your eye health.Having said that, VisionCheck is registered with the FDA as a Class 1 medical device, with 510(k) exemption. It utilises the same diagnostic technology optometrists and ophthalmologists use.
Without going into too much detail, the principal behind VisionCheck is something called Inverse Shack Hartman. Shack–Hartmann sensors are used in astronomy to measure telescopes and in medicine to identify refractive errors. The actual technology is based on a MIT patent licensed exclusively to EyeQue. The scientific explanation on how VisionCheck works is beyond the scope of this review but, if you’re interested there’s a detailed explanation on the EyeQue website.
Setup and using for the first time
Purchasing EyeQue VisionCheck comes with a one year All-Access Membership for one person. After that an annual subscription costs $4.99 per year. Users can include other family members for an additional $4.99 per year.
You will need to create an account the first time you use the device. Start off by downloading the VisionCheck smartphone app from the App Store or Google Play. Create an account by answering a few basic questions and you’re set to go. All of this takes no longer than a few minutes.
I recommend you take a few practice tests before moving to an “official” test. This is so you get used to the procedure. It took me about 2-3 practice tests before I became confident and proficient at using the device. In fact, the first time I looked through the lens, I struggled to focus enough to even see the red and green lines! It does get easier, though. After a bit of practice it becomes a breeze.
To conduct a measurement, click on the Test tab in the smartphone app, switch on VisionCheck and click on Start Now in the app. The blue light on the device will start blinking. Then tap the Scan button in the app and select the device once it locates it. You’ll know that it is paired when the LED on VisionCheck turns to a solid Blue. I conducted multiple tests over the few weeks of use and never had any issues with pairing.
Now its time to physically attach VisionCheck to your smartphone. Simply place the device on the smartphone screen in the middle of the indicated area, and secure with the rubber safety band. Make sure the touch sensors are facing up and that the volume on your smartphone is turned up. This is because the app provides useful audio instructions.
You will first need to administer a refractive error test for your right eye, then your left eye. From reading distance, slowly move VisionCheck towards you until it touches your eye. You should see a red and a green line when looking through the thing. Keep your other eye open focused on an object in your immediate surroundings. It’s difficult at first, but remember – it does become very easy after a few tests.
As stated above, your goal is to overlap the lines until they change to a solid yellow colour. To move the lines towards or away from each other, simply use the touch sensors at the top of the device. You will hear a slight noise when doing this, which is the motor turning the dial at the top of the miniscope.
What is the EyeQue and What Makes It So Special?
The EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker uses MIT-patented technology to turn your smartphone into a personalized, fully functional vision test that takes about 3 minutes to complete.
To start the test, you simply attach the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker to your phone and follow the on-screen instructions. The test is simple– almost like a game. You simply adjust two lines (one red, one green) using buttons on your phone until they blend into a single yellow line.
The test gives you a precise reading of your eye measurements – including Sphere, Cylinder and Axis readings (the essential measurements used to create accurate eyeglass prescriptions).
I use these results, called EyeGlass Numbers, to order new eyeglasses online – by myself. I love the freedom of choice this gives me – but on top of this, EyeQue saves your test results to the cloud, which allows you to track them over time and share with your Optometrist.
This is the part that has Optometrists so excited. When you take your own eye exams, you make your Optometrist’s job much easier – and you can even stop a dangerous disease before it strikes. Here’s what Dr. Paul Gibson, a UK optometrist, had to say about EyeQue:“I think that the EyeQue, used correctly and regularly, could actually speed up identification and treatment of pathology due to more frequent screening at home.”
More than 50,000 tests have already been taken, and the results are quite impressive: Over 90% of users who ordered glasses said their results were as good or better than their previous office visit results.
Ease of use and accuracy sums up why optometrists trust EyeQue – but personally, I have my own reasons for loving it.
Reason #1: EyeQue VisionCheck Saves Me TONS Of Time
I only visit my Optometrist once a year, so I didn’t expect the convenience factor to be a big deal… but it’s been huge.
Most importantly, I don’t need to visit the Optometrist to order new prescription eyeglasses. No more phone tag with the receptionist, getting out of bed, and waiting for an hour just to get results that aren’t as accurate as what I get at home.
Not to mention, my new “exam room” is much more comfortable!
Reason #2: It Paid For Itself Immediately (And Keeps Saving Me Money)
This was what convinced me to order my EyeQue, and I’m glad I did.
The EyeQue costs just $49 – far less than the $100+ co-pay at the Optometrist that I used to shell out every time I needed to update my prescription glasses.
I realized that if I was ever going to update my prescription again – even once – the EyeQue would pay for itself. Here I am, two pairs later, completely happy with the results and about $140 richer than I would be without EyeQue. Score!
Reason #3: I Trust My Results (And So Does My Optometrist)
Of course, I haven’t written my Optometrist off completely – I still visit him to keep tabs on my eye health.
However, my Optometrist trusts my EyeQue results so much that they let me skip the in-office exam. That’s the part that usually takes the longest, so my rare Optometrist appointments are a breeze.
I also share my full history of tests with him, which helps him spot problems before they arise.
Is The EyeQue VisionCheck Really Worth It?
Before ordering my EyeQue, I admit I hesitated. “How often do I need to take an eye exam?” I asked myself. “Do I really need this?”As I’ve mentioned, I never realized how much the costs – and hassle – added up. Overall, I estimate I save at least 4 hours and $80 for every appointment I skip.
However, the feeling of control I now have over my vision is priceless to me. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that ordering eyeglasses online is much cheaper, plus I have way more options to choose from.
Those are enough reasons to recommend EyeQue – but when you add in the fact that my Optometrist can now give me better care (because I’m helping him get information about my eyes that he could not get otherwise)… I don’t know how I could go back to life before my EyeQue.
So yes, I’m incredibly pleased with my EyeQue – and so is my Optometrist.Bottom line: If you wear glasses and want to save time and money AND get a more accurate prescription, you’ll love your EyeQue, too.
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