Every year, our “screen time” continues to increase as our gadgets get bigger and brighter. According to the Vision Council, our digital devices are causing 60.5% of Americans to report symptoms of digital eye strain, and it’s uncertain how these devices will affect our vision long-term. Aside from taking frequent breaks from our devices, reducing screen glare, and adjusting the distance between our eyes and the screen, it’s also important to frequently monitor for changes in our vision. While regular exams by an eye care professional are absolutely necessary, Newark, California-based EyeQue has developed a couple smartphone-based devices that can be used to monitor your vision in between professional eye exams. We reviewed the first device, the Personal Vision Tracker, a couple months ago, and EyeQue was kind enough to let us take a look (no pun intended) at their newest device, the Insight visual acuity screener.
The Insight is a $90 pair of goggles that look similar in appearance to a smartphone VR headset. The smartphone’s display is non-destructively secured to one end of the goggles using a silicone strap and the user looks through the other end at the screen as the iOS or Android app guides them through the vision test. It’s by no-means a tiny device, but it’s lightweight, portable, and effectively mimics the 20-foot minimum distance for a standard Snellen/tumbling E chart test.
The visual acuity test works very similar to a regular test: for each eye, the letter E will appear with the open end facing up, down, left, or right. But instead of reciting the direction to a clinician, you simply swipe the direction it’s facing on the bottom section of the smartphone’s display that isn’t covered by the device. If a child (or someone young at heart) is taking the test, you can turn on “Seymour,” an animated assistant who will keep kids engaged with jokes, tips, and sticker rewards during testing. At the conclusion of the test (which takes approximately two minutes), your right (O.D.), left (O.S.), and dual (O.U.) visual acuity will be displayed on a standard 20/20 (or metric 6/6) scale. As you continue to take additional tests, your past results will be saved and displayed so you can track your history for any changes. Compared to the Personal Vision Tracker, the results are a little easier to interpret, as more of you probably know that 20/20 vision is normal.
One thing about the Insight that we rather liked is its potential to be used for many different vision health tests. When we first received the Insight, only the visual acuity test was available. But after we finally got around to testing the device, EyeQue had added color blindness and contrast tests to the app. When we spoke with EyeQue about the Insight, they shared with us that they actively work with a team of optometrists and ophthalmologists to come up with new tests that users can self-administer using the device.
Overall, we’re again impressed by what you can learn about your vision using just a simple device and a smartphone. We’re looking forward to hopefully taking additional visual tests in the future through the Insight and hope it becomes an indispensable tool for helping us care for our vision.