A “smart” option for autorefractions


A “smart” option for autorefractions

SVOne offers affordability and convenience without sacrificing accuracy.

By Zack Tertel, Senior Editor

Bernie Spier, MD, FAAO, travels to Grenada, West Indies every year for a voluntary cataract surgery trip. “We examine patients and, as you can imagine, the equipment down there is pretty rudimentary,” says Dr. Spier, senior ophthalmologist at Northern New Jersey Eye Institute.

Tired of carrying a 50-pound autorefractor during the trip along with other equipment and supplies, Dr. Spier researched options and discovered Smart Vision Labs’ SVOne — a smartphone-based autorefractor.

Smart Vision Labs’ SVOne is a 0.9-pound iPhone attachment that uses the phone’s camera to capture a wavefront map of the eye.


The SVOne is a 0.9-pound iPhone attachment that uses the phone’s camera to capture a wavefront map of the eye. The device takes about five readings per eye, which takes a total of about five seconds to process, Dr. Spier says (standard auto-refractor readings vary — some may take three readings per eye, while others may continuously scan for about 20 seconds). Physicians can use the information from SVOne’s readings to measure vision imperfections and generate refraction results. Also, patient data syncs to the cloud, making it possible to review the information on a larger monitor.

After acquiring the device, users must complete a brief set-up process on the iPhone before putting it into practice. This includes inputting basic login information, such as creating a username and password. No application downloads are required — the SVOne application comes preinstalled on the iPhone 5s, which is included with the device.


Beyond portability and convenience, the device also produces similar results as compared to a standard autorefractor. A recent study tested 20 volunteers using three procedures: autorefraction with the SVOne, autorefraction with a standard autorefractor and subjective refraction. Researchers found similar results with the SVOne and the standard autorefractor.1 While the subjective refraction showed superior results to autorefraction, Dr. Spier was not surprised.

“Autorefractors are a good starter point, but no one would prescribe glasses from that,” he says. “You still have to refine with a manifest refraction, and that’s true for the SVOne just as it is for larger devices.”


Beyond mission trips, Dr. Spier says the SVOne makes sense in a variety of environments outside of the office thanks to its 60-plus hour battery life. “Any time you’re going into a non-eye doctor setting, such as a nursing home, screenings or anything like that, it’s ideal and easy to bring it along.”

The device even makes sense in-office. Dr. Spier says the SVOne is an effective backup option if his standard autorefractor is not available or is out of service at one of his four satellite offices. Without another alternative, his office and patients could encounter long wait times or rescheduled and cancelled appointments.


For Dr. Spier, another significant benefit is the price: the Smart Vision SVOne costs under $4,000. This price includes the iPhone 5s used to operate the device along with virtual training sessions and other online resources to help users adjust. And compared to standard autorefractors that can range from $7,000 to nearly $20,000, the savings is big. Combined with its accuracy and portability, the SVOne makes sense for a variety of physicians. OM


1. Zhou Y, Kassalow J. Preliminary Evaluation of SVOne Autorefractor for Low Order Refractive Errors. Accessed August 10, 2015.