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This Smartphone Add-On Can Tell If You Need Glasses

If you've been putting off a visit to the eye doctor or think your vision is getting worse, a new smartphone add-on could tell you whether it's worth spending money on a trip to an eye care specialist and a new pair of glasses.

Credit: EyeQue

(Image credit: EyeQue)

The $30 EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker, set to ship in February 2017, attaches to your phone and uses light from the phone's display to test your vision. In the EyeQue app, red and green lines appear on your screen and move toward each other as you tap on the device. Looking through the miniscope, you'll tap on the screen until you see the lines completely merged.

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The information from your test is run through EyeQue's algorithm to give you insight on changes in your vision. You can use the device as frequently as you like to track how your vision degrades over time.

The smartphone add-on has already been named a 2017 Consumer Electronics Show Best of Innovation Awards Honoree, but there are a few caveats to consider before you decide to buy one. Test results aren't the same as what you'd get from a eye specialist and shouldn't replace visits to a optometrist or ophthalmologist, EyeQue says. Plus, the device only works with certain smartphones running Android 4.0 and up or iOS 9.3 or later, according to the company.

EyeQue co-founder Tibor Laczay calls his company's device an affordable, accessible vision testing method, and the company says you can use your results from the test to order glasses online. Still, it may be little more than a novelty for some U.S. consumers, who will likely require an official prescription to get a pair of glasses. However, the portability of EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker could make it an easy and inexpensive way to conduct vision tests in developing countries.

Early bird Kickstarter backers can get one for $25 when the devices ship in February.