The Future of Eye Care Fits in Your Pocket

A Somerville startup is poised to revolutionize the eye care industry by making optometry more affordable and accessible. EyeNetra has developed a solution that allows users to take a refractive test and receive a prescription, all from their mobile phone.

EyeNetra was launched in 2011 as a product of collaborative research conducted in the MIT Media Lab. The company’s founders (a trio of Media Lab researchers) discovered a way to leverage smartphones as a platform for their Netra-G eye-testing technology.

The Netra-G package consists of a portable adaptor which snaps on to the phone, and diagnostics software which measures for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Users simply look through the lenses, then type in their responses to get a prescription.In addition to Netra-G, EyeNetra also intends to create a cloud-based platform called Test2Connect, which enables users to connect to eye care product and service providers from anywhere through the EyeNetra’s mobile app.

It is estimated that up to 2.4 billion people live with refractive errors in their eyes. 80% of these vision problems are treatable, but eye exams are expensive and require travel, leaving many unable to get the necessary treatment. There are also a lack of optometrists to meet every person’s needs, especially those in developing countries. As their innovative new software prepares to hit the eye care market, EyeNetra is well-positioned to significantly alleviate these issues.

Investors are beginning to take more notice, as they tend to do forĀ successful Boston-area startups. EyeNetra recently raised $2 million in new equity funding, meaning the company’s slogan “Glasses to the Masses” is one step closer to becoming a reality. (BBJ, EyeNetra)