US contact lens firm to buy Israel’s optometrist-in-a-phone startup

1-800 Contacts enters deal to purchase Tel Aviv-based 6over6 Vision, whose software enables taking eye tests with app or computer

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative image of a patient at an optometrist (nd3000, iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of a patient at an optometrist (nd3000, iStock by Getty Images)

US contact lens retailer 1-800 Contacts has entered into an accord to buy Israeli startup 6over6 Vision Ltd, a developer of vision technology that allows users to take their own eye tests using a mobile app or computer — in effect putting an optometrist into a smartphone.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Calcalist financial website estimated it at over $100 million, citing people familiar with the deal.

Using a combination of math, physics, vision technology, and advanced algorithms, 6over6 is the developer of GlassesOn, digital healthcare software that offers a variety of vision test technologies, including an accurate measurement of the refractive error of the eye for eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions, retrieving optical parameters from existing lenses, and measuring pupillary distance. It enables consumers to renew their prescriptions from anywhere, by using just their smartphones.

Their technology is currently in use by vision companies across the globe, with more licensing deals expected in the coming months, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday. The Tel Aviv-based startup’s apps are clinically proven to be as accurate as an optometrist’s exam, according to the firm.

Ofer Limon, co-founder of 6over6 Vision Ltd. (Courtesy)

The two firms said they are joining forces in a bid to advance vision care and increased access and affordability of care for people around the world.

“We have long admired the innovations 6over6 has built and have been using their technologies to serve our customers,” John Graham, CEO of 1-800 Contacts. “People deserve simple and affordable eye care solutions and acquiring 6over6 will allow us to deliver this for our customers on an even larger scale.”

1-800 Contacts expects to use the technology across a variety of its existing businesses and products, including Express Exam, which currently enables consumers to confirm their prescriptions for contacts with a computer or smartphone.

In the future, 1-800 Contacts and 6over6 expect to work together to “revolutionize telemedicine offerings” in the vision industry, such as enabling consumers to get a new prescription for eyeglasses and contact lenses from anywhere, without an office visit.

“It has been our life’s mission to create ground-breaking technology that would allow consumers the ability to take control of their own vision care and reach communities around the globe without access,” said Dr. Ofer Limon, co-founder of 6over6 Vision.

6over6 was founded in 2014 and has raised $15 million, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.

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