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In the era of Warby Parker, measure your own eyeglass prescription at home

Optometrist, shmoptometrist.

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Tyler Lizenby/Cnet

With the popularity of direct-to-consumer retailers like Warby Parker, Zenni Optical and EyeBuyDirect, people are taking the process of buying prescription glasses into their own hands by skipping brick-and-mortar retailers and insurance policies.

But EyeQue VisionCheck, which debuted here at CES 2019 on Sunday, is hoping to do one better by skipping the optometrist altogether. Working with a mobile app, the Bluetooth-powered portable device can conduct vision tests at home, and can measure nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. 

After testing, the device spits out what it calls your personal "EyeGlass Numbers." The numbers work similar to an eyeglass prescription, but do not require a doctor's sign-off. You can then take your number to specific retailers that will honor EyeGlass numbers like Zenni Optical and EyeBuyDirect, and buy prescription glasses completely on your own -- no appointment or waiting room required.

Read more: Why I ditched Walgreens for this pharmacy app | Putting EyeQue to the test | Best places to buy prescription glasses online in 2019

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The updated EyeQue VIsionCheck.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

During my brief time with it, I tried getting an accurate reading of my vision. To do this, I had to align a red and green line that I viewed through the scope until they were touching. Using the buttons on top of the VisionCheck, I pushed the lines either closer or farther apart. The number of times I clicked these buttons determined my EyeGlass numbers. 

Because the entire process takes up to 20 minutes, I couldn't finish the test and didn't get an accurate reading. I also found the initial process to be a bit complicated. 

In addition, vision tests at a traditional optometrist are more comprehensive and accurate than online eye tests, according to the American Optometric Association, which recommends eye exams every one to two years.

I could see how this device might be convenient for someone who needs to constantly check their changing prescription, but as a casual eyeglass wearer, a once-in-a-year trip to the doctor suffices for me.

EyeQue VisionCheck is the newer iteration of last year's EyeQue, which is currently available online at Amazon and BestBuy for $30. Unlike its predecessor, VisionCheck has Bluetooth, and it can automatically measure the distance between internal optical lenses without the need to manual rotate the eye cups.

The Indiegogo campaign for VisionCheck has already exceeded its goal and the company plans to ship out the product in March or sooner.

Update, Jan. 15: This piece was originally published on Jan. 6, 2019 and has been updated with additional information from the American Optometric Association.

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