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    Eyecare community raises red flags over Opternative

    Chicago—Online refraction is officially here with the last week’s launch of Opternative, a company offering its online vision test to the public for the first time.

    How it works

    CEO Aaron Dallek says he and Steven Lee, OD, founded Opternative to provide an option for otherwise healthy patients who may not require a yearly exam but may still need a new prescription.

    The company offers an online vision test through its website, Opternative.com. The test takes about 25 minutes, and the patient can take the test via a computer or smartphone. An ophthalmologist verifies the prescription, and it is provided digitally to the patient within 24 hours. The patient can receive a prescription for glasses or contact lenses for $40 or for both for $60.

    Related: Blink in-home vision test worries ODs

    Dallek says patient satisfaction is guaranteed. If a patient is not happy with the way she sees with the glasses or contact lenses she received using the Opternative prescription, the company will recheck the prescription. If the company cannot correct the problem, Opternative will offer a full refund.

    “There is no risk in trying the Opternative eye exam,” Dallek says.

    The test is currently available in 27 states, but the company has plans to expand to more states soon.

    Next: From development to launch

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...


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    • Anonymous
      Interesting the co-founder of Opternative is an Optometrist, but yet the doctors who will be signing the RX's are Ophthalmologists. Wonder when the last time the Ophthalmologists were spinning the dials. Looks like a good way to skirt the laws in some states having the Ophthalmologist sign the RX's. Going to be a good story to follow.
    • AllanGunn
      I do not understand why there is such a backlash from ODs to stop technological progression. Yes I am NOT an OD but a Biomedical Engineer that develops new technologies in this field. I do believe that most will object to such 'progression' but it is inevitable....one way or another. So far, blocking things like Blinks in home tests and now the online prescriptions may be stopped, but a barrage of up-coming 'methods' will eventually prevail. If the OD does not embrace the changes they WILL fall by the wayside. Take hearing aids...the audiologists try so hard to keep the industry in a closed loop. They do not allow or condone self-programming...but the general public are becoming more learned and are research savvy that they are willing and wanting to partake in this venture. There are now providers that use the 'self-programming' technology as a marketing tool. Back to optometry...the general sense I get from ODs (particularly here) is that they treat their patients (and future patients) with disrespect to say "you don't know"...This is true to a point...but the majority of people do not require full comprehensive eye examinations every year. The ODs may attest to this notion but the governing bodies do not. They subsidize the test costs once every 2 years (in Australia) but (I believe) want to change that to every 3 years. So...the in-between periods, people may want to just get an updated Rx and get their fix for the latest fashion. My conclusion...rather than cause a stir and backlash, embrace the technology, focus your attention to how can you use the latest to your advantage...whist providing the care a patient/customer needs/wants.
    • StewartGooderman
      See, this is where our own kind are our own worst enemy. Optometry has continually tried to strive for a holistic approach: we're the ones who provide the health testing and the optical knowhow to merge the two together into a holistic package. And then we have the fools who, in effect, bring us back to working in jewelry stores, doing nothing but refractions. Telling a patient that this is *not* an exam when in essence it *is* an exam in the eyes of the patient is pure deception. Who ever signs these prescriptions are automatically taking the ocular health of these individuals into their own hands despite any warnings provided to the patient to the contrary. This has be shown in the courts over and over. And since they are not practicing to the standard of care in their community, their malpractice will not cover them. They are, frankly, idiots.
    • Dr. AKluka
      This Idea is living, visible proof that there are too many ODs. The very fact that some OD would add his name to an idea like this, ostensibly to give it some credibity to the general public, bears witness to the old adage for some: " anything to make a dollar!" I WOULD NEVER, nor COULD EVER attest to the vision of a human being without provifing an evaluation of the eye's health. This is just COMMON SENSE.. I have seen THOUSANDS who benefitted by a different refraction, but had eye health issues, MANY often SERIOUS. THIS IDEA is lunacy ....and manifest greed ....at the risk of the patient's visual, and sometimes, physical health.

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