Startup EyeNetra Launches Device That Will Make Eye Care Affordable in India

Startup EyeNetra Launches Device That Will Make Eye Care Affordable in India

Wednesday February 27, 2013,

3 min Read

David Schafran, Co-Founder and CEO of EyeNetra, has long been a believer in the power of technology to empower the masses. Upon his return to US after his fellowship with the Rockefeller Foundation in India, David discovered an eye care technology with the potential to do just that. In 2010, David joined the research team behind this technology at the MIT Media Lab, and together, in 2011, they founded EyeNetra.

The EyeNetra technology is a small, low cost diagnostic tool that can be attached to a mobile device and used to screen for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Their product promises to play an important role in the Indian eye care system, which is already being disrupted by online retailers that are greatly reducing the cost of acquiring glasses. EyeNetra is addressing a more fundamental issue that comes earlier in the process, at the point of diagnosis – an area where billions of people around the world lack access to proper testing and screening.

“Numbers vary, but there are at least 300 million people in India who need glasses, and large majorities of the population don’t have them,” explained David Schafran in a recent interview with SocialStory. “The reason for this is the lack of access to eye testing, shortage of trained professionals to conduct the test and the cost of eye-testing equipments like autorefractors which are too expensive.”

This is the space where EyeNetra sees the potential to be a game changer. Their low cost technology bridges the gap that currently exists in making glasses available to the people who need them, and eliminates the need for consultation by trained professionals and the use of expensive screening equipment. The EyeNetra device, coupled with a mobile phone, can offer the same level of care that in the past would have been dependent on a $10,000 machine.


EyeNetra is currently in its pilot phase. They recently received a million dollars seed funding from Khosla Impact and Khosla Ventures to help develop the product through the early stage and prove its feasibility in providing low cost, quality eye care to the masses. To maximize their reach in the Indian market, EyeNetra has partnered with the LV Prasad Eye Institute, and is looking to partner with eye hospitals and glasses retailers among others.

Speaking about the potential of his venture, David says, “We’re setting a new standard for eye testing that will transform how eye testing is done and how eyeglasses are delivered in this world. Its quite exciting.”

Read the full interview with David Schafran here on SocialStory, or visit EyeNetra to learn more.

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