Obtaining measurements for on- line eyewear has become a prickly issue, but now there’s a new development in the offing. A new device that uses a mirror, along with a tablet, to take digital measurements so potential buyers have the measurements they need to purchase eyeglasses online. As Sherlock Holmes once said, “The game is afoot!”
Since the inception of online Rx eyewear sales, eyecare professionals (ECPs) have been concerned that the public would be receiving inferior quality eyewear, including eyeglasses made without proper measurements. There’s no doubt that eyeglasses need proper measurements to be produced accurately, so their concerns are legitimate. This need has been used by some ECPs to thwart online sales by refusing to give this information to patients, claiming it’s not part of the patient’s Rx; it’s part of their work product and not subject to release.
Others have embraced the opportunity and are charging a fee to take the measurements and check the Rx for accuracy when the eyewear is completed, as well as provide one adjustment. All this may become moot soon.
In response to the need for proper measurements, some companies have developed a number of schemes to overcome the problem. The latest one comes from a company called ReverseOptics. Known as the Binocular Scanner, the technology is a bit like the digital tablet measuring devices used in optical offices. The eyewear buyer downloads an app to their device. Sitting in front of a mirror, they position the device using screen prompts. Once alignment is correct, they snap a picture the company calls a Stereo Photo Image (SPI). This image is uploaded to an online eyewear purveyor, and according to the company, a qualified optician acquires the measurements including A, B, DBL, PD, and segment height to within 0.5mm accuracy. With the ECP in the loop, the company calls this technology, “TeleMeasurement,” a sibling to telemedicine.
Yes, the online measuring game is afoot, and we’re likely going to see other devices that continue to use technology in clever ways to take measurements for online retailors. If you can take them in your office with an iPad app (and there’s several out there for ECPs), it’s logical that eyewear buyers can do this for themselves. Will some consumers embrace this concept? Sure. Others will see it in the same light as doing their own teeth cleaning, etc. Whatever the outcome, the online measurements issue has been advanced one more square on the gaming board, and other advancements are sure to follow. Will you be ready for them?