MADISON (WKOW) -- New technology is available for us in Wisconsin, so you can get an eye exam from the comfort of your own home.
Chukuma Nwaomah decided to try an at home eye exam. Having worn glasses or contacts most of his life, he was tired of yearly eye exams at the doctor. "I was a little hesitant at first," he admitted. "Once I got the hang of it [though, I] just breezed right through it."
The next day, Chukuma had his new prescription. "It saved me some time as far as getting to the eye doctor."
He isn't alone. According to the CEO and Co-Founder of Opternative, Aaron Dallek, his online eye exam company alone has tens of thousands of people sign up for the DIY eye exam.
"All you need is a computer and a smart phone," said Dallek. He explains, the test uses letters and shapes, similar to what you would find in a doctor's office. "It takes 20-25 minutes, and you need 10-12 feet of space."
The results are evaluated by an eye doctor in your state. Then they write you a prescription. "It's much more convenient and less expensive than going to the eye doctor," said Dallek.
Eye doctors like Dr. Tessa Sokol of Sokol Advanced Eyecare are wary. "I'm not against technology. The world is going to the Internet. I'm not against that. I'm not against advancing our professions," said Sokol. She decided to take the test to see for herself. "It wasn't very accurate," Sokol reported. "I feel like we're taking a bit of a step backwards."
Sokol fears people who use the at home eye exams would completely neglect a doctor's visit. "What patients don't understand is that a refraction is actually 1/12th of the entire exam that we do," said Sokol. "[We look for] diabetes, glaucoma, those are the two major ones, but we're also checking for retinal diseases and hereditary diseases. Brain tumors, brain issues, multiple sclerosis - the list is just so long."
Dallek insists, the at home eye exams are not to replace a doctor visit, only supplement. "We make it so patients cannot use the Opternative exam more than four years in a row," he explained.
As for Chukwuma, he is enjoying his new prescription, but plans to head back to the doctor's office next time. "I think I'm going to be able to use them both throughout the future," he said.
The at home eye exam in this story, Opternative, is only available for people 18 to 40 years old. There is a cost involved for glasses and contacts.