The End Of Eye Charts?

A Polish man went to have his eyes tested. The eye test chart read: N Y X C S F R U Z. The optometrist  asked, “Can you read any of those letters?”  The Pole replied, “Read them?  I know him!”

Well, if Jewish optometrist Aaron Dalleck has his way, very soon you will be able to get your eye vision prescription right from your desktop, without ever having to spend one minute in a waiting room.  Dr. Dalleck and his team of researchers have submitted their innovative concept for government approval.  Called Opternative, it would be the first-ever on-line eye exam resulting in an actual prescription from a licensed opthalmologist.  It took a lot of tinkering with the trick being able to develop a digital equivalent of the phoropter (that’s the familiar machine in an optometrist’s office with the thick lenses that rotate as you answer “a or b, better or worse, etc.”).  The latter  was the last major innovation in eye exams, dating back to 1921, and it was the belief that in this technological age there had to be a better alternative that paved the way for Opternative.

According to Opternative, there are four easy steps:

#1 Set-Up For Success – Easy instructions guide you through every step. We’ll explain how to set up your room, how far to stand from your computer and why we need certain information.
#2 Measuring Your Vision – We determine what you can and can’t see with a series of tests. We measure your distance vision, check color vision and find astigmatisms.

#3 Written By A Doctor – An ophthalmologist licensed in your state or province will review your test results and prior prescription. Then, they’ll write and sign your new prescription.

#4 Digital Prescriptions – You can use your new prescription to buy contacts or glasses anywhere. It’s always at your fingertips. You can download, print or access it anytime.

The entire process takes fifteen minutes or less and you get your new eye prescription within twenty-four hours.  And what are trial patients saying?

When I found Opternative, not only could I afford it, but best of all, I was able to avoid city traffic while I did the exam at home. It’s such a relief that there’s something out there for people like me with a tight budget and crazy schedule … When you have to take children with you to an appointment, it is a struggle. At home, I can turn on a movie for them and take my exam in peace without the stress of kids misbehaving. The test was fast, easy, and ready for me whenever I had enough time. So, I save myself the hassle, I save money on the exam, and I save cash on gas and a babysitter.

Most exciting to the inventor of Opternative is the implications for poor people in poor countries.  Now they can get a proper prescription without having to personally see an optometrist and get lenses that are an exact match instead of wearing donated ones that will never be just right.  Another Jew blessing the world.


The back-to-school season is a great opportunity to think about how a child sees the world. With 80 per cent of classroom learning being visual, the importance of good vision can’t be overlooked.  “School can be hard enough without adding poor vision into the mix,” says optometrist Dr. Jeffrey Guthrie, President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO). “Parents assume their child will tell them if they can’t see well, but children with poor vision don’t know what normal vision looks like. Regular comprehensive eye exams are the only way to make sure a child’s vision is where it should be.”  OHIP covers annual eye exams for children up to 19 years old, yet only 14 per cent of Canadian children under the age of six have had a comprehensive eye exam before entering their first year of school. In Ontario, one in four children has an undetected vision problem that is affecting their ability to learn.  Research shows that children with good vision go on to perform better in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities.  “In addition to affecting their grades, poor vision can impact a child’s social development and hand-eye coordination in physical activities. Yearly comprehensive eye exams will detect a vision problem before it hinders a child’s academic and social success,” says Dr. Guthrie.  The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that every child have their first eye exam at six months old to ensure proper eye development, again at two to three years old and every year thereafter.  While notebooks and pencils are important purchases ahead of the school year, a trip to the optometrist should be at the top of the list. It’s the only way to ensure children are really ready to tackle the school year.


For Canadians who had to watch television to get the best view of Monday’s solar eclipse, just wait until the  next one in seven years when the path of totality crosses part of Canada.  Whereas the one in 2017 went from east to west, the one in 2024 goes from south to north.  South of the border means Texas to Maine and north of the border means the southern tips of Ontario and Quebec, central New Brunswick, western Prince Edward Island and central Newfoundland.  And whereas the total time of darkness for the August 21, 2017 eclipse was two-and-one-half minutes, the total time of darkness for the April 8, 2024 one will be four-and-one-half minutes.  Cities affected will include: Dallas, Little Rock, Indianapolis, Toledo, Cleveland, Akron, Buffalo, Rochester, Toronto and Montreal.  The truth is, a total solar eclipse occurs somewhere in  the world every 18 months.  And if you are an umbraphiler (one who loves eclipses and often travels to see them) the word umbra meaning (shadow), the next few will take place in the southern hemisphere (Chile, Argentina, Antarctica) before returning up north.

And why are you advised to wear special glasses to watch the total solar eclipse phenomena?  Here’s the answer.  We know that staring at the sun is a bad idea, because every time we do so, our eyes water and start to burn (that’s a good thing because it makes us turn away).  But a total solar eclipse allows us to keep staring at the sun and even a sliver of sun looked at too long is just as dangerous as the complete sun.  So special eclipse glasses have been made that contain a black polymer that reduces the sun’s brightness by about 500,000 times, compared to regular sun glasses which only reduce sunlight by a factor of five (and thus are useless as eye protection in a total solar eclipse).