Frequently Asked Questions

Vision care principles

Is there evidence that supports the DOT Glasses approach to vision care?

We have worked with many optometrists, ophthalmologists, eye care clinics and eye care hospitals. While all of them prefer providing perfect vision solutions provided by an optometrist or eye care professional, there is a general consensus that providing “good enough” vision is a good alternative to improve vision acuity when there is no possibility to get a proper eye exam, either because of cost or access.

Can a “good enough” prescription damage someone’s vision?

This was our first question to ourselves when we started developing the DOT Glasses “radical” solution, so we spoke to dozens of optometrists/ophthalmologists and researched the topic extensively. The experts agree that the variance to perfect vision (i.e. good enough vision) in the DOT Glasses solution will not worsen a customer’s eyesight and will not harm a customer.

For instance on the websites of the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. and of one of the largest German optical manufacturers Zeiss, it is unequivocally stated that neither overcorrection nor undercorrection can damage the eyes. However, in the case of children and young people, more caution is needed.

We do recommend that once a customer has access to an optometrist, that a proper vision screening is performed. Poor vision can be the consequence of a disease (such a diabetes), and a proper eye care specialist will be able to address the primary cause of poor vision.

Are DOT Glasses suitable for young children?

Although our frame sizes could be used for children as young as 5, we believe our product is best suited for children 8 years or older. This is more due to the testing procedure, and the ability of a child to properly participate in the vision assessment. There are cases when a child simply wants glasses, or wants to please an adult with the “right” answer, which can lead to an incorrect assessment. In addition, children below the age of 9 have a risk of developing “lazy eye” and hence should be examined by a vision care specialist.

How do you deal with astigmatism?

Our solution corrects for spherical errors, not cylindrical errors (i.e. astigmatism) as correcting for astigmatism would significantly complicate the supply chain and potentially prevent delivering the solution to some areas. However, there are two important factors to consider:

Most incidences of astigmatism are relatively minor (it’s a natural curve, which means the vast majority of customers will have “zero” or “very minor” cylindrical errors). On average, only 7% of people with refractive errors have astigmatism, and most of that will be “very minor”.

A prescription that corrects for spherical error can sometimes be adjusted to compensate for some of the cylindrical error (“spherical equivalent”). Although our assessment doesn’t cover astigmatism, the fact that people select the lens that works the best for them, also allows them to compensate as needed to find a lens that works best.

What do you do if someone has a cataract?

Although most of our vision entrepreneurs don’t have much training to identify eye disease, they are usually able to identify a cataract. In this case, and in any other case in which someone complains of poor vision and is not helped by our lenses, we’ll provide them the contact to the nearest eye clinic and recommend that they make the effort to have a consultation with an optometrist. We will also refer patients with other, non-refractive error eye problems to a specialist.

Product details and training

If we have optometrists to measure vision accurately, can DOT Glasses provide a wider range of lenses to meet the prescription needs?

DOT Glasses provides ultra-cheap, one-size-fits-all frames which are suitable for any program, and we can provide lens powers in increments of 0.25 diopters if the local infrastructure allows for higher levels of stock.

However, as DOT Glasses are always delivered on site at the time of the vision test (at the cheapest price point possible), we only provide lenses for spherical errors (standard refractive errors). Compensating for cylindrical errors would require full customization (and thus, two-way logistics, and much higher prices).

Are DOT Glasses certified?

The DOT Glasses frames are fully certified (ISO 12870 for spectacle frames, produced in an ISO 9001 certified factory) and the lenses are supplied by Essilor NVG (the world’s largest lens manufacturer) and are fully certified as well.

How long does it take to train someone to start selling/distributing DOT Glasses?

The training time is 60 minutes, including hands-on practice time. Then we typically require oversight for 2 hours of work to ensure quality delivery and avoid mistakes.

Does a DOT Glasses representative need to be present for training?

Our training can be done on-site, or remotely via a video call and using our digital material (including training videos). We also have easy-to-follow instructions in printed format, as well as a training manual using short video clips on our website.

What do you do if someone has a cataract?

Although most of our vision entrepreneurs don’t have much training to identify eye disease, they are usually able to identify a cataract. In this case, and in any other case in which someone complains of poor vision and is not helped by our lenses, we’ll provide them the contact to the nearest eye clinic and recommend that they make the effort to have a consultation with an optometrist. We will also refer patients with other, non-refractive error eye problems to a specialist.

Distribution model

What partners do you work with?

We partner with classical vision care providers (for-profit and non-profit), as well as health care providers, NGOs (health and general development), Multinational or Large National Corporations employing large workforce in their factories or through their supply chain, rural retailers selling health and/or life changing products, and vision entrepreneurs. We also work with Ministries of Health and Ministries of Education.

How much can a micro-distributor/micro-entrepreneur earn by selling the glasses?

According to our experience, a last mile micro-distributor can typically sell 3-5 glasses per day and make a profit of roughly US$1 for each pair of glasses sold. If he is able to set up smaller vision camps (to efficiently test a larger number of people in a community), this number could be substantially higher.

Can you guarantee low end user price?

We only control the wholesale price which is fixed. We don’t control the end user price, as we work through our distribution partners that need to ensure a sufficient margin at each step in the value chain to remain sustainable. And quite frankly, prices can be impacted by many factors such as: customs duties, taxes, in-country logistics, number of middlemen, salary requirements, volume of glasses sold, difficulties to reach certain geographies, etc. However, we have guidelines for our partners that reflect back on our social impact roots with a mission ceiling price of US$5.

What are the eyeglasses requirements in a typical community?

The need varies significantly between regions depending on average age, poverty levels, ethnicity, and environmental factors. Roughly speaking, our statistics follow the global pattern: roughly half of people over the age of 50 need reading glasses, and roughly 10% of all the people (including children) need glasses for distance seeing. The number of children requiring eyeglasses varies quite substantially by geographies. In countries such as South Korea, up to 70% of children require glasses, whereas in some African countries it can be as low as 3%.

Is there any regulation limiting dispensing glasses?

In most countries there is no regulation on glasses dispensing. In many European countries, glasses can be dispensed in supermarkets or any retail shops as they are a very low-risk device.

Naturally, regulation differs from country to country and needs to be verified in each country. However, limiting regulations are not common as there are so few vision care specialists in developing countries that such regulation would essentially deny access to glasses for underprivileged people.