Removing the middleman in order to provide tailored and streamlined products or services seems to have become the norm over the last few years.
About the same time the sharing economy became a thing nearly a decade ago, Warby Parker splashed onto the eCommerce scene in 2010. Though it seems that the company has certainly revolutionized the way people bought glasses via its online store, and later its brick-and-mortar locations, Warby Parker has boosted its services with the recent unveiling of its Prescription Check app offering, which allow at-home vision testing.
Through the use of an iPhone, the Prescription Check app allows doctors to assess people's current prescription glasses and issue an up-to-date version for expired prescriptions.By utilizing the device's camera, the Prescription Check app guides the user through the test while they're wearing their glasses to assess the level of correction that their current prescription provides. The app gathers the data, sends it to a remote eye doctor licensed in the state the user is in and the eye doctor compares the results with the user's previous eye prescription.
Though this 20-minute at-home vision test may cause optometrists to worry, the online retailer assures consumers that its new offering is meant to be an aid to the eye screening process and not a full replacement of a traditional eye exam service. With this new addition to its repertoire, there may be the potential for future partnerships with eye doctors to help bridge the gap between this new vision technology and the traditional in-office eye exam process.
For now Warby Parker isn’t making the Prescription Check app available in all states. It requires a previous eye prescription on file so the eye doctor has a baseline for evaluating their test results. In addition, Warby Parker is also asking that people trying out the app already be a current customer, have zero past eye diseases, not require bifocal lenses and have a lens strength between 0 and -6.0 and an astigmatism value between 0 and -2.0.
Those that have no changes in their eyesight will be passed along through the service to receive an updated prescription to get new frames, and if there are changes, a referral to an optometrist for a more thorough exam. Though this process doesn’t entirely replace vision tests, it helps answer the question of whether or not eyesight has changed from the comfort of people’s homes, thereby reducing any unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office and copayments.
Warby Parker does, however, realize the limitations of the offering and advises those deciding to try out the app to still do follow-ups with licensed professionals. The app's disclaimer reads, “It’s important to get your eye health examined periodically, even if you aren’t experiencing any vision problems, so please follow the advice of your doctor. Good to keep those peepers in check.”
It appears that the folks at Warby Parker have been looking into integrating the prescription experience into their own offering for quite some time. A spokesperson for the company said, “We’ve been exploring vision technology for a long time. We weren’t able to find existing technology with a user experience that met our standards, so we decided to build it ourselves.”