The equipment needed to carry out a proper eye examination typically costs $20-40k; the Smart Vision Labs SVOne aims to reduce that cost to just $4k by using an iPhone as part of the kit. The iPhone takes a series of photos of the eye, while an app performs the analysis and generates a prescription.

We were given a demo of the kit last year (video below), but the company needed funding to make it possible. Smart Vision announced today that it’s raised $6.1M in institutional funding led by Techstars Ventures. The funding allows it to scale its production and expand the team, helping it reach an estimated billion people around the world who don’t currently have access to eye examinations … 

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Smart Vision CEO Yaopeng Zhou said that he has seen first-hand how dramatically people’s lives can be transformed by the technology. In developing countries especially, poor eye-care can perpetuate “a vicious cycle of poverty,” says the company, by reducing productivity in adults and hampering educational opportunities for children.

It’s just one of a range of iPhone-supported medical diagnostic aids we’ve seen in recent years, examples including HIV tests, skin cancer detection, eye injury diagnosis and detecting elephantiasisCheck out the video below to see just how quick and easy an eye exam is using the kit.

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