Online eye exams latest trend in telemedicine - CBS46 News

Online eye exams latest trend in telemedicine

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MESA, AZ (CBS5) -
Would you trust your eyecare to the click of a mouse? Telemedicine is emerging as the next big thing. But is it the most accurate?

Optometrist Tim Sinek at the Southwestern Eye Center said, like everything, the eyecare industry is exploring cheaper, more convenient options. A new trend is online eye exams, which Sinek said are not foolproof. 

"A lot of times when patients come in with no complaints, we're finding diabetic problems. We're discovering hypertension problems," Sinek said.

One of the most talked-about emerging online eye exams is Opternative, a Chicago startup launching this summer.

"We ask you some simple multiple-choice questions based on what you see. And there are images on the screen that look different depending on how you see the world," said co-founder Aaron Dallek. He and his partner, Steven Lee, said an ophthalmologist in your state will then look at the results and write you a prescription. 

"Let's say you broke your glasses. You want to renew your prescription, or you ran out of contacts and you need to renew your prescriptions. This makes it easier for you to do that," Dallek said.

It'll cost around $30, a fraction of the cost of a regular eye exam. And you never have to leave your home. 

"Radiology, dermatology, everything's going into the field of telemedicine," Lee said.

But Sinek is worried patients will take the easy way out and only use online services instead of getting in-person exams, which even the Opternative founders recommend. 

"I think we're going to sacrifice a lot of accuracy in the prescriptions," Sinek said.

The American Optometric Association calls online eye exams misleading, and that nothing can take the place of an in-person exam. Opternative said they're in an open dialogue with them. 

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