Opternative officially launches $40 online eye exams in 27 states

Sam Dewey

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One Chicago health tech startup has its sights set at impressive heights. Its mission? To correct the vision of patients across the country.

Opternative, a physician-led provider of online eye exams, has left beta and gone live in 27 states nationwide, including Illinois. Beginning today patients aged 18 to 40 have access to Opternative’s innovative online testing.

“Opternative is an extremely affordable and convenient way for getting a prescription for glasses and contacts,” said Opternative CEO and co-founder Aaron Dallek. “It increases accessibility for a lot of people who need eye exams. You can use our prescriptions anywhere you choose, from a local optical retailer down the street to online retailers like Warby Parker.”

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The startup’s eye exams rely on the patient's smartphone and computer to administer testing, with a series of audio and visual instructions used to help guide the user through each vision test.

Upon completion, a licensed ophthalmologist in the patient’s state reviews the results of the test, in addition to medical history provided by the patient. If necessary, that ophthalmologist will issue and sign a digital prescription.

Prescriptions for contacts or glasses cost $40, or you can get both for $60.

The company said it recommends that all of its patients continue to see an eye care professional or get an eye health exam every two years.

“We’re a physician-led company with a huge emphasis on patient care,” co-founder Dr. Steven Lee said. “We are clinically validated through a physician-led clinical trial, so we’ve proven that our technology works. It’s safe. It’s effective. And we have a lot of checks and balances to make sure we take care of the patient’s health.”

Founded in 2012, Opternative has grown into a 16-person team and has already raised $3 million in funding. Earlier this year, the company won a Moxie Award for Best Consumer Web Startup. 

Opternative’s platform is FDA registered and HIPPA compliant. As technology continues to integrate itself into the healthcare industry, more tech startups are likely to follow in Opternative’s footsteps.

“The future of healthcare is technology,” Dallek said. “It continues to make healthcare in this country and around the world more efficient and makes it easier to offer quality services to patients with limited resources.”

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