Of course, taking a full exam every year is not always tasty – or possible – for patients. If your prescription expires, but you only want new frames, waiting for the right exam can be a pain.

“Convenience is really important,” says George Cuadros, a clinical telehealth researcher at UC Berkeley School of Optometry. “Right now you have to call, make an appointment, get down, take time off from work, and then have your eye exam done. And then you use so much time when you can only test timeline to renew your prescription. “

Worby is very aware of the limitations of the service. The application does not detect serious eye issues such as macular degeneration or cancer. Gilboa, the company’s co-CEO, says he sees the virtual vision test as a complement to the traditional eye exam, not a replacement. The goal is not to smash all the nuisance of a full exam into an application.

He says, “We’re not copying all the pieces.” We’re really unbundling that comprehensive health exam and focusing only on the part that concerns your ability to see through your glasses and contact lenses and your visual acuity. . “

This unbundling of services in telemedicine has expanded during the Covid-19 epidemic, with many people having much more access to health checkups. But the side effect of that trend is that the way patients think about comprehensive health care is fragmented.

“This isn’t just in omet photometry,” Richdale says. “We are looking at how you can go online and get a birth-control prescription or testosterone or other things. And these companies are in the business of making money. So they are taking pieces that they believe they can do, because they are relatively gentle and sell them directly to the customer. You think: ‘It’s glasses. What harm can it do? ”

Companies like Warby Parker can provide enormous disclaimers, but that doesn’t mean users will pay attention to them. As easy as it is to bypass traditional care, people can largely ignore minor health issues until it is too late.

“General philosophy in the U.S. tends to move away from preventive care and health examinations and more towards urgent care,” Richdale says. “You’re kicking the can on the road until one day you have a problem.”

Experts say the issue is not just telemedicine, but how it is implemented. Quadros describes the best approach that doctors provide extends existing care, but cannot change. And it can be best used by doctors locally. Virtual vision tests can be very useful, especially if they are in the hands of a doctor who is familiar with your needs as a patient.

“The person behind the scenes shouldn’t be just an anonymous eye doctor somewhere on the company’s panel,” says Quadros. “But he should be your local eye doctor, the person you see anyway. Involve local eye care providers in the equation. “

Whether Worby Parker can build enough confidence for people to leave their local ome ptometrist and adopt a hybrid approach to their vision care – half, half, half in the Warby Parker store – remains to be seen. But as it expands its presence and capabilities both online and offline, the convenience of its online services will be a strong selling point.


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