EyeQue VisionCheck provides a way to test and track your need for prescription glasses at home.

I have had to be diligent concerning my eye health. I wear glasses to help with being able to see at long distances, but a few years ago, my eye doctor detected that my eyes had higher pressure than normal. Because of my family history, my eye doctor started me on some medicated eye drops to help alleviate that pressure since it puts me at a higher risk for developing glaucoma. Had I not been seeing an optometrist on a regular basis, that health issue wouldn’t have been caught and my daughter’s optometrist wouldn’t know that she needed to look out for early signs of eye disease either. 

I said all that to state that there are some wonderful technology products being released to help people with different areas of health and medicine, but just because we can do a more thorough job of monitoring certain wellness areas on our own, doesn’t mean that we, as human beings, don’t need regular check-ups with physicians like optometrists. They are trained to look for risks and assess your body’s health needs more than an automated test can. 

This is a review of the EyeQue VisionCheck device that won an Innovation Award at CES 2019, but I wanted to stress the importance of using devices like this as a tool for your overall health and wellness and not as a way to cut out doctors completely from your total health picture. EyeQue does state in its user manual that: Personal vision testing does not replace the need for an annual eye health exam by an eye doctor.  This device is really just meant to help people analyze their need for eyeglasses in between regular checkups with eye doctors. 

VisionCheck is a Bluetooth-powered, ophthalmic refractometer that is designed for users to administer to themselves. It uses a smartphone to determine EyeQue EyeGlass Numbers (not a replacement for a prescription), which is the lens power that is needed to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness as well as lens power and axis needed to correct for astigmatism. EyeQue promotes this as a way to check your vision and order new glasses online. 

The device is an FDA class I registered ophthalmic refractometer. It’s non-invasive and uses the light from a smartphone screen. EyeQue states that approximately 90% of surveyed members who have purchased glasses using their EyeGlass Numbers said they are the same or better than previous prescription glasses. Test results are stored on the EyeQue Cloud for in-app or online access anytime. You have the ability to compare results and share them with your doctor, too. 

To get started with the EyeQue VisionCheck, you need a VisionCheck device ($69), smartphone and internet connection, an account with EyeQue membership ($4.99 per year, per account), and the EyeQue VisionCheck application (free to download). 

Getting started with the VisionCheck device is pretty easy. Once you download the app, you need to set up your account before you can start using the device. Once that step is completed and you are logged in, you can start testing your vision. The app walks you through the test process step-by-step. It’s a painless process and it simply involves you moving the VisionCheck device (while attached to your phone) close to your eye and then positioning lines within the screen so that the test can detect what lens power you will need to correct vision issues that are corrected by glasses. Something to note here is that EyeQue does not provide users with prescriptions — they provide the numbers needed to order glasses that don’t require a prescription. This is shown in the image below.

As I stated above, I have some preexisting eye health conditions that made this test difficult for me. I reviewed the results with my eye doctor and even took him the device to check it out. He said that the device itself was an interesting piece of technology and that he could see the concept of the process being sound. His issue with it was that this type of test wasn’t taking into account the focusing system of the human eye. And, in my case, my eyes overfocus and are constantly trying to correct for pressure and other environmental factors. With that in mind, the VisionCheck is not going to be as accurate as an eye doctor’s testing equipment. I spoke with a second eye doctor — my daughter’s — and she said something very similar in regards to the focusing system of the human eye. Her main concern, and apparently it’s the concern of many optometrists in our area, is that people will think that once they have their EyeGlass numbers, they don’t need to go to an eye doctor.

“These things (devices like the VisionCheck) pose a very real threat to people’s eye health.  Using something like this device will potentially keep them from going to an actual optometrist and getting a full eye examination.  Many quiet eye diseases, like glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal tears would go years unchecked, and  lead to permanent damage and vision loss.  The Indiana Optometric Association is currently fighting very hard to make sure these automatic devices stay outlawed in our state, and is also working with the American Optometric Association to make sure they are outlawed in all states.”

While I was testing this device, I noted several things. 

  1. The VisionCheck does operate as it’s reported to. It’s intended use as outlined in the user manual is to “allow the tracking of vision changes over time and generates estimated refractive corrections.” 
  2. It’s easy to use. An eye test only takes a couple of minutes to complete. Once you have completed it, you are provided with your EyeGlass Numbers. 
  3. Some of the information provided by EyeQue is contradictory. For example, the box for the VisionCheck suggests that users can buy new glasses with the results of the test, but the user manual says that EyeGlass Numbers (what you get as the test results) are not prescriptions. “EyeGlass Numbers can be used to order eyeglasses from online retailers that do not require an eye care provider’s prescription certification.” (VisionCheck User Manual, p. 14)
  4. The device is relatively budget-friendly at only $69, but that only includes a one-year membership to the EyeQue system. An all-access membership costs $4.99 per year. This provides the user with the ability to test vision as often as they want and grant them access to the eye records that are stored in the EyeQue Cloud. 
  5. Each user of the device must have their own account. When I decided to test my daughter’s eyesight with the VisionCheck, I was informed by EyeQue that when test results get mixed up if multiple people use the same account. According to EyeQue’s FAQs on their website: If you wish to use your miniscope with multiple people, each user must have their own account.  Your EyeGlass Numbers (EGN) are produced from your account’s data and if multiple users are using the same account, that data is going to be skewed.  Combining tests from multiple accounts will create bad results and inaccurate EGN. You want the results you receive to be yours and yours alone, not an amalgamation of multiple users.  If you want to let someone try your miniscope without making a new account, have them take a test in Practice Test mode since those results do not count toward your final EGN. Only completed vision tests in Test mode are used to calculate EGN.
  6. Each account must have its own membership to the EyeQue system. This means that if you have a family of four and you want to track everyone’s eyesight on a regular basis, you will be paying around $20 per year for the membership rights for the VisionCheck. 
  7. The EyeQue Cloud stores your testing information and since I was wondering about the security of the system, I found this nugget of information regarding the security of user information. EyeQue treats all personal data collected as sensitive information and will not share it with third parties.  The data uploaded to the EyeQue servers is on a secure network. We may use vision test and EyeGlass Numbers for analysis to advance our understanding of refractive errors, but we will never identify any individuals or individual vision test results.
  8. Because the lines inside the VisionCheck device show up as ‘red’ and ‘green’, people who are color blind would have a different experience. EyeQue reports that it will work with people who are colorblind, but it really depends on the severity of their colorblindness. According to a contact I have regarding the product, “EyeQue doesn’t recommend VisionCheck to people who are colorblind but have customers who’ve reported using it successfully since they were able to identify the difference between the lines based on color or density.”
  9. Even though VisionCheck is reportedly compatible with iPhones, I had trouble with the test appearing correctly on my iPhone XS Max. The lines used for testing appear as doubles and they don’t line up correctly. As it turns out, the screen on the iPhone XS Max doesn’t show the test correctly. I also had a Sony XPeria 10 available and the test worked fine on it.

I did end up testing myself and my daughter several times. And, I was able to compare it to recent physician-based eye tests, too. As you can see from the difference in the results between the two tests, they are close, but not 100% the same. EyeQue reports that these differences wouldn’t cause a perceptible difference by the user if they had glasses made with those EyeGlass Numbers. Their exact comments about the difference between each test are included after the results.

OPTOMETRIST TEST – ME


SphereCylinderAxis
OD+0.25-1.50095
OS+0.50-1.25092

EYEQUE VISIONCHECK TEST – ME


SphereCylinderAxis
OD0.00-1.50089
OS+0.25-1.00094

Your sphere measurements are off by 0.25 for each eye which is quite small. Your cylinder measurements are almost spot on, since you wouldn’t really notice a difference at 0.25, and your axis measurements are each off by 6 degrees and 2 degrees (there are 180 degrees total). These are the results you could order glasses with that would actually work really well for your eyes.

Computer screen from eye doctor that shows my sight measurements
Images from my eye doctor that shows the pressure tests of my eyes over time

OPTOMETRIST TEST – MY DAUGHTER 


SphereCylinderAxis
OD-0.25-2.25104
OS-1.25-1.00070

EYEQUE VISIONCHECK TEST – MY DAUGHTER


SphereCylinderAxis
OD0.00-1.75108
OS-1.50-1.00059

OD, right eye: sphere differs by 0.25 (she’s mildly nearsighted so it’s likely she wouldn’t notice the difference). Her cylinder differs by 0.5, so this is one where she may see slightly more blurry. Also, her axis is only 4 degrees off, which would be a really tiny difference.

OS, left eye: EyeGlass Number is stronger by 0.25 diopter, meaning she’ll actually see better this way. Her cylinder is the same as her prescription at -1.00; her axis is a bit different by 11 degrees but as her cylinder power is not very high, so she’s not likely to feel any difference.

The EyeQue VisionCheck device does work as it’s supposed to, but it does not replace the need for regular eye health checkups. This type of device is really best for people who want to have a constant monitoring of their eye prescription. One example that my eye doctor provided was a patient with diabetes. They need to have their eye prescription checked more frequently than once a year and this device would help those types of patients keep up with their prescription without having to have a doctor’s visit multiple times a year. For a standard patient, this device may not be as worthwhile as going to an eye doctor. 

For more information, visit eyeque.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

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