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What to know about at-home vision tests via smartphones

Chainarong Prasertthai/iStock(NEW YORK) — The future looks 20/20 for a new partnership between one tech firm and an e-commerce brand with a new vision — but what does it look like for customers? One company says they could potentially have a new at-home eye exam solution for people who wear or need glasses and contacts. The Israel-based company, 6over6, claims that it has developed a software that “delivers all the essential optometry tools” through the use of a smartphone or computer.Although the 6over6 software is still in the process of clinical trials and awaiting approvals in the U.S., one company has already jumped on board. 1-800 Contacts announced Tuesday to Business Insider that it has entered an agreement to acquire the software within the next year. “The regulatory timelines are not incredibly precise, but we’re hopeful it will be on the market in the next year or two,” 1-800 Contacts CEO John Graham told Business Insider. “In-office eye exams tend to cost about $150 and take a few hours away from work,” Graham explained. “We can do it more affordably using a smartphone or a computer in 10 or 15 minutes,” he predicted. The technology boasts the ability for users to get prescriptions for both eyeglasses or contacts “without a visit to an eye doctor.” “By manipulating the optical and perceptual phenomena, GlassesOn Eyes gives you a full measurement of the refractive error of the eye for farsighted or nearsighted individuals, including astigmatism and pupillary distance,” 6over6 explained on its website. However, the American Optometric Association has previously maintained that online tests or diagnosis is not a replacement for a traditional eye exam conducted by a doctor. “An online eye test does not completely cover any one of the 12 components of a regular in-person, comprehensive eye exam. National agencies, including the National Eye Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agree that a comprehensive eye examination is the only way to know whether your eyes and vision are healthy,” the AOA said in a statement about vision test apps. “The progressive answer to eye and vision health care is not to focus on being the next big consumer brand or app. Instead, innovators need to focus on delivering tools that help advance patient care, because ‘virtual’ care is no substitute for actual health care,” the statement continued. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.