Review: EyeQue VisionCheck – At-home vision testing done right
Can a $70 test really be accurate?
We’re supposed to get our eyes tested every so often as we age, but do we? I mean, there’s the groceries to get, and the kids from school, and the seemingly-neverending list of chores… With time being the most precious commodity, how do we keep tabs on our sight?
Sure, we might notice that our existing prescription seems to be blurrier, or maybe that’s just because we’re tired. Now you can test for the numbers you need to order new glasses from the comfort of home, using EyeQue’s cheap and quick testing kit that works with your smartphone.
Now, EyeQue would be the first to point out that this isn’t a replacement for going to your optometrist. Seriously, it’s an app – it can’t diagnose disease or other causes of your eyesight changing. What it can do is help you keep tabs on the numbers that your optometrist figured out the last time you had a full workup, so you know how your eyesight varies over time. If you notice significant changes, go to the optometrist, that’s what they’re for.
So, what’s it all about?
EyeQue’s VisionCheck is a $70 kit that comes with a vision testing doohickey to find out the refraction error of your eyes (the numbers your optometrist gives you as a prescription), and a pair of glasses frames that you use to find your Pupillary Distance (PD). It’s FDA Class 1 registered and comes with a one-year subscription to EyeQue’s testing app, so you can test to your heart’s content.
You can add extra people to your subscription for $5 each, making it easy for the whole family to monitor their eyesight.
Oh, and a cool new thing announced at CES 2020? EyeQue now has low-cost Try-On glasses that you can order once you get your vision numbers from the app. They’ll turn up at your door in about a week, as a physical check of your measurements.
That’s a great thing because nobody wants to order expensive prescription lenses, only to find out that the numbers given by the app are inaccurate. Spending $15 on the Try-On lenses keeps everyone happy, and ensures that you can double-check that your refractive index numbers are correct before spending serious cash. Bifocals are also available, at an additional charge.
So, how does it work?
I was kinda skeptical when I opened the box, I mean how is this plastic thing supposed to replace the huge, imposing eye testing thing at the optometrist that has all the little lenses to flick in and out? Well, let’s find out.
The app guides you through pairing the test doohickey to your phone, then walks you through the testing process. There are nine tests on each eye, making the test process 18 tests in total. You need to do the whole test three times though to get your first set of eye numbers, so it could take a while.
The testing uses two slits that rotate between tests one to nine. One slit shows a green pattern, while the other shows red; and the point is to use the touch-sensitive controls on the tester to make the patterns overlay, where they turn yellow to your eye. It’s fairly easy to figure out the controls and how to do the test, but it took me a few tries to be able to hold the tester to my eye without losing sight of the test pattern with my left eye, which is my non-dominant one.
Oh, and you have to keep your non-testing eye open at all times, which really confused me for a while until I got the hang of it.
While focusing on the test patterns is hard enough, nobody mentioned how much my arms would ache partway through the first test. I took an afternoon to do the three total tests, with a decent break between each to rest my muscles and my eyes.
After that, it’s time to check my pupillary distance (PD) with the plastic glasses frames. This was much easier – simply center your face in oval, snap a selfie, put the T’s over the ones printed on the glasses, and the crosses over the center of my pupils.
Okay, so the last time I had a full eye test was February 2016 (I know, I’ve been slacking on getting a new one), and this is the full prescription that the optometrist gave me:
- SPH (Right): 1.00 CYL (Right): 0.00 Axis (Right): 000
- SPH (Left): 1.00 CYL (Left): –0.50 Axis (Left): 075
- Pupillary Distance (PD): 66.0
- Let’s see how the EyeQue device stacks up:
- SPH (Right): –1.75 CYL (Right): 0.00 Axis (Right): 000
- SPH (Left): -1.75 CYL (Left): -0.50 Axis (Left): 071
- Pupillary Distance (PD): 64.0
Well, for the most part, that’s in line with my last eye test, with a minor deviation on my left axis. I’m not sure if the SPH results are due to a bad test practice, so I’m going to keep practicing while I wait to book a full test with my optometrist to double-check everything.
So, should I buy it?
I was skeptical when I first received the EyeQue kit, I mean how can my smartphone and a couple of plastic bits replace the super expensive optometry gear at my local eye doctors? Well, I’m no longer skeptical. The results were close enough to a test that I’d had done almost four years ago that I’d have no issues with ordering new glasses based on the results. Heck, with the upcoming Try-On service to double-check the results, you can be sure before you actually buy expensive frames.
The only thing I want to mention is that it’s no replacement for your eye doctor, so if you get numbers (like I did) that you’re not expecting, or seem ‘off’, go book an eye exam and get your precious eyes checked out.
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Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.