Side Note
Opternative's online eye

Opternative's online eye "test" begins with asking about the user's intent.

No, you can’t do an eye test online

It’s an attractive vision: Step 10 feet away from your computer, and use your phone to take an eye exam. After paying $50 to $60 and waiting for 24 hours for a company eye doctor to look over the results, receive a real prescription for glasses or contacts.

Unfortunately, it’s not an FDA-approved eye test.

Opternative, the Chicago-based company which has been offering virtual eye exams online since 2012, received a warning from the FDA in October 2017, which was released online on March 9.

According to reporting by Buzzfeed, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has been up in arms about Opternative since 2016, even filing a complaint to the FDA claiming that the company puts people at risk. AOA CEO Christopher Quinn even released a statement about the FDA’s October letter, calling it a “major victory for public health and for the tens of millions of Americans who need and deserve access to quality care to safeguard their health and vision.”

The Opernative website does offer a disclaimer stating that it “not a replacement for a comprehensive eye health examination,” and that its services only work for healthy people between the ages of 18 and 55. But the website can still be used to receive a real prescription for glasses or contacts.

The company appointed a new CEO, Brent Rasmussen, in January. In an email to The Outline, company spokesperson Peter Horkan said, “We have responded to the Warning Letter and we are working closely with FDA on this matter.”

Read more at Buzzfeed.