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Online eye exam startup Opternative gets $1M to provide glasses prescription directly from the computer

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February 25
11:48 PM 2014

Opternative, an online eye exam provider, has secured $1,000,001 in seed funding round to launch its service this summer, TechCrunch reported.

The round was led by Tribeca Venture Partners and Chicago Ventures. Opternative does away with the need to have an eye exam done in person by providing users doctor's prescription for glasses directly from their computer or phone. An eye test only takes anywhere from five to ten minutes on the Opternative platform and costs about 75% cheaper at $35 compared to in-person exams, the report said.

Opternative Co-Founder Dr. Steven Lee told TechCrunch, "Doing eye testing day in and day out, I thought 'there has to be a better way to do this'." He found that with today's computer and phone innovations, it could be possible to replace traditional machines for eye testing, the report said.

He met entrepreneur Aaron Dallek in 2012 and the rest, so to speak, is history. Opternative provides an online eye exam that does not need any special tool. After the results are evaluated by an ophthalmologist, a digital prescription for glasses will be given which the customer can be filled anywhere, the report said.

Unlike non-medical grade online eye exam sites that one can find by doing a Google search, Dallek told TechCrunch that Opternative works because people each have their own view of the world. "Some people see it fuzzy. Some see it stretched. And about 25% of people see the world clearly. We've created these images that look different depending on what your prescription is," he said. Lee added that other sites are not very accurate or legally licensed to give a prescription.

Opternative is still in private alpha testing while in the process of getting approval from the FDA. It will still have to get through the regulatory hurdles and more work is needed to make the platform precise enough to be used by everyone. However, Opternative is now accepting signups for those who would like early access to the service, the report said. 

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