If you are an eye care professional, by now you have probably heard of Opternative.com, which offers a vision exam to correct refractive error via computer and smartphone. A person signs up, takes the exam and a doctor reviews the findings. Within 24 hours, the patient is notified that the prescription is available. He or she then logs into their account and gets the prescription.
There’s another service, Blink, which is slightly different. It is like The Geek Squad where people, known as Visioneers, come to your home or office to administer vision exams for refractive error using tools developed at MIT. These tools measure vision and record the information for an optometrist to review. After the optometrist reviews the findings, the patient receives a prescription by email.
Both services stress that they don’t do comprehensive eye exams or tests for glaucoma or cataracts. Also, if the patient’s vision reaches a certain threshold, that person will be referred to either an optometrist or ophthalmologist for an in-person exam.
No one knows if these services will stick around, so it is important to continue to promote your practice. Of course, the question is: How do you set yourself apart from Blink and Opternative.com? There are three ways:
There’s a doctor in the office
Your practice has a licensed doctor of optometry or ophthalmology on site actually examining patients. Opternative.com and Blink can’t claim that. Since there is a real doctor examining patients, not just test results, patients will get the care that they need right away.
Your practice accepts most insurance plans
Blink and Opternative.com don’t currently accept insurance. Your practice does, so patients can get the care they need within the confines of their insurance plan.
One stop shopping
Patients have the option to have their eyes examined and pick out the eyeglass frames all in one visit. With Opternative.com and Blink, patients have to wait at least 24 hours for their prescription and then they have go somewhere to the get the prescription filled.
While technology has improved vision care, there is something to be said for humans actually delivering the vision care. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, and when things get complicated, that is when a doctor is needed.
Not to mention, somebody has to be around to hand out the lollipops when the exam is over!