Renewing your contact lens prescription can be as easy as downloading an app

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Do you need to renew your contact lens prescription, but don't have time? Well, there's an app for that. It's called Simple Contacts, it's can be downloaded straight to your smartphone and it's much cheaper than the cost of a typical eye exam.

When you download the app, you register with your name and email address. You are then prompted to look at your phone screen as the camera in your phone detects redness levels. Once that is completed, you then prop your phone up and stand about 10 feet back as you are directed to cover each eye as you read letters from an eye chart displayed right on your phone.

The results of your exam are then sent to an affiliated optometrist who then approves or rejects your results. If approved, you are then able to purchase anywhere between a 1-month to 12-month supply of contact lenses right off of the app.

Dr. Dan Rowan of Eye Zone Nevada believes that these at-home eye exams can be accurate, but a user won't have the benefits of seeing an eye doctor in person. By using an app to get a prescription, users are not able to get a comprehensive exam - such as ones that detect conditions like eye disease, astigmatism, eye infections, or glaucoma.

Dr. Rowan says that while these at-home tests are convenient and beneficial at times, they shouldn't completely replace visits to the optometrist. Simple Contacts provides a statement to the same effect on their website.

On their FAQ page, it says: "It is critical to understand that we are not fitting you for new contact lenses or objectively evaluating your refractive error. We are simply determining whether or not your existing lens prescription is still right for you. This vastly minimizes inherent risk and improves test accuracy. Our test is not a replacement for a full eye exam. We only offer a vision test designed specifically to assess a contact lens prescription."

The website also indicates that their at-home eye exam isn't designed for everyone. They developers behind the app have designed the test for for contact lens wearers who:

(1) are 18 or older;

(2) do not have a history of health issues, including (but not limited to):

(a) Eye infection;

(b) Eye pain or discomfort;

(c) Double vision;

(d) Eye surgery within past 12 months;

(e) Foreign object in your eye;

(f) Glaucoma;

(g) History of a freckle of nevus;

(h) History of any inflammatory disease or condition;

(i) HIV/AIDS;

(j) Keratoconus;

(k) Sudden loss of vision in either eye;

(l) Taking a medication that affects your vision;

(m) Any illness that affects ocular health (ask your doctor);

(n) have stable vision and are happy with their current prescription;

(o) have had an in-person eye exam in the past 4 years.

Simple Contacts isn't the only option for at-home eye exams. Websites such as 1-800-CONTACTS, Opternative, and Warby Parker all provide services to obtain an eye exam and prescription without going into the eye doctor's office.


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