Looking Beyond Prescriptive Lenses

Somerville-based startup EyeNetra has developed ultra-portable eye testing technology that allows health professionals to capture refractive measurements using a smartphone and a low-cost attachment. Beyond refractive testing, EyeNetra has big plans for their technology.

The Netra, which looks similar to a pair of binoculars, fits onto a smartphone outfitted with the EyeNetra application. Users simply hold the Netra up to their eyes and, using knobs on either side of the device, center and align red and green lines on the smartphone screen. The user repeats this procedure multiple times and the application calculates a prescription.

EyeNetra claims that the Netra can screen for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and pupillary distance. Currently retailing at $899 (including cost of the phone), the Netra performs vision tests at a much lower cost than any other device or procedure currently available.

EyeNetra has also developed the Netrometer, a portable smartphone powered lensmeter, and the Netropter, a portable phoropter.

The low-cost, portable nature of EyeNetra’s products allows optometrists and ophthalmologists to expand the reach of their practice. “We want to enhance the engagement between the doctor and the patient by allowing the doctor to leave the office,” explains Vitor Pamplona, CTO and co-founder of EyeNetra. The EyeNetra devices allow eye care professionals to perform in-home or in-office visits and thereby increase opportunities to test vision and educate patients on the importance of eye care. Earlier this year, EyeNetra launched Blink, an on-demand in-home vision testing service in New York.

EyeNetra’s devices are also well suited to perform eye testing in the developing world. EyeNetra’s Nayantara program in rural India aims to serve the 2.4 billion people in the last mile that need glasses but do not have access to eye care professionals and testing equipment. The program provides a villager with EyeNetra devices and the skills necessary to create a sustainable business outfitting local residents with glasses.

The company is also looking to enter the virtual reality market and plans to develop custom screens that correct for vision defects. “It’s personalized correction,” explained EyeNetra co-founder and co-inventor Ramesh Raskar in a recent press release. “Your [vision] correction is built into the headset.” For those who wear glasses or contact lenses, prescription screens would create a more immersive virtual reality user experience.

Abigail Ballou

Abigail Ballou

Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively.When she isn't writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.
Abigail Ballou

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