One prerequisite of solving problems is having problems to solve. That is, first you must realize that there is a problem — an inconvenience or difficulty that you no longer accept as inevitable. Then you can ask questions and try to find answers.
Suppose the problem is that (a) you have imperfect eyesight, and (b) you’re lazy, busy, a shut-in, a cheapskate, or all four. You want to update your prescription without spending the time and money to visit an optometrist. Questions: Any way you can just do this at home for, say, $35? How about over the Internet?
If we ask Mr. Google about “online eye exams,” we find several sites offering tests that aim only to tell you whether it’s time for a visit to the eye doctor. Not good enough! But we also learn from TechCrunch.com about Opternative, a company co-founded by optometrist Steven Lee. Opternative plans to offer professional-grade online eye exams.
“Doing eye testing day in and day out, I thought ‘there has to be a better way to do this,’” Lee says.
Lee still faces regulatory and other hurdles. But I appreciate the ambition — also that we still have enough capitalism in our quasi-capitalist system to make a venture like this potentially profitable. And if Opternative succeeds, we’ll be able to take its prescription to another website and order an inexpensive pair of glasses or contact lenses over the Internet.
I like that vision.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.