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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2021

Focusing on Online Vision Testing: easee is Devoted to Making Clear Vision Accessible to Everyone with the World’s First Clinically-Proven Online Eye Exam

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“Our vision is to enable patients to access digital eye care wherever and whenever they need or want.”

Amsterdam-based easee is a health-tech company that aims to help the billions of people around the globe who suffer from poor vision—with easier and more accessible eye testing and eye care. The company offers the world's first CE-certified online eye exam, which allows the users to take unassisted online vision testing using only a computer and a smartphone, enabling people to access a reliable and fast eye test that can be taken from the comfort of their home.

As of today, easee has helped over 100,000 customers in 10 countries. It is working together with leading companies in the eyewear industry, such as Grand Vision. Enabling the digital revolution in eyewear, the company’s medical-grade technology is trusted by world-leading ophthalmologists and university clinics for telemedicine around the world.

To highlight and further understand what easee stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with founder Yves Prevoo, who serves as the company's Chief Executive Officer.

Below is an excerpt.

Q. Have you always been passionate about science and technology? Tell us what inspired the creation of Easee?

I am a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine by training and medical science has always been a passion for me. I worked for Pfizer for almost a decade, where I helped getting breakthrough treatments for patients. During an MBA, I learned that poor vision is affecting 4.3 Billion people globally and, most of the time, can be easily treated (e.g., with glasses). However, I was shocked to hear that access to eye testing and eye care is leaving roughly a billion people visually impaired, a number that is expected to increase rapidly due to the increase of myopia in children and the older population. I mean, we can land a probe on an asteroid 300,000 kilometers away, but when we need a pair of glasses to read this in the newspaper, we sometimes have to travel for hours and pay top dollars.

Q. 'Our mission is to make clear vision accessible to everyone.' Would you like to elaborate on this a bit more?

I am convinced technology can solve the poor vision problem in a few years, although I realized global eyewear companies struggle to transform their current model. The way your eyes are tested did not change much in the past 100 years. Today, technology allows people to reliably test their eyes at home, radically changing the traditional eye care professional offices and clinics model and, in essence, providing them an opportunity to deliver more and higher quality care.

Q. What can you tell us about easee's world-first CE-certified online eye test?

Together with ophthalmologists, optometrists and scientists, we developed a medical-grade technology to assess your eyesight with just a laptop and a smartphone. We clinically validated our test and proved it to be as good as an optometrist in a head-to-head clinical trial. This study was published in a high-impact peer-reviewed medical journal, Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). Since our online eye exam is a medical device, we are obliged to follow strict regulations for quality and safety. Our CE certification proves our level of quality, and our product and quality systems are audited yearly by an independent body.

Besides, the science and medical evidence needed to convince medical professionals that our technology works, new regulations for health apps and digital health solutions like the Medical Device Regulation have raised the bar for all companies. We are extremely proud to be a leading company in the emerging Software-as-a-Medical-Device (SaMD) industry.

Q. Will your company be expanding, bringing on any new products or services that we should be aware of?

Definitely! Our vision is to enable consumers to access digital eye care wherever and whenever they need or want. Our primary focus has been on online vision testing, which we launched in the US and EU. We are working hard to get online refraction, today already available in Europe, to the US. And this is just the beginning. We have multiple new tests in clinical trials, such as reading tests and screening tools for serious eye diseases. Most importantly, we are working on several technological improvements to make the eye testing experience so easy and accessible that nobody will be suffering from unnecessary poor vision anymore.

Q. From your perspective, how is the industry you serve currently evolving? And what are the trends in the different categories?

We are witnessing a telemedicine boom. The health care industry's long-standing resistance to change and digital transformation has prevented it from keeping up with consumer demands and fast evolving technological progress. The COVID-19 pandemic created the tipping point for a long-overdue digital health revolution. In the next few years, we can expect a rise of digital care pathways, decentralized and consumer-driven healthcare, and AI-assisted care and cure. Besides, digital eye care change will also be driven by a growing number of consumers buying eyewear online. This trend is, of course, evident to everyone and unstoppable.

Q. How do you plan to transform your company into a future that is unfolding before you?

As a tech startup, we feel easee is part of the future. As we are building the future of eye care, we are continuously looking for new and better ways to work as a company. Whether this is working remotely and internationally or the way we support our partners, customers, and patients. The future is bright and exciting.

"We are extremely proud to be a leading company in the emerging Software-as-a-Medical-Device (SaMD) industry.”