It’s often the case that the simplest, most powerful ideas sit right there in front of our noses (or in this case our eyes :-). That’s how we felt when Joel first told us about what he wanted to build at Simple Contacts. Every single year for the past decade I’ve had to take time out of my schedule and money out of my pocket to renew my contact lens prescription. And yet, my prescription hasn’t changed one bit. It turns out I’m not alone — 79% of the adult population does not require a new contact lens prescription over the course of a 5 year time period.
So why do we have to get a prescription renewed every year? Well, like many other industries that haven’t changed in decades, it’s primarily a result of deeply entrenched interests, most of which have nothing to do with the patients in question. Optometrists, for example, make most of their revenue through contact lens and eyeglasses sales, and thus their retail businesses work best when they have a good reason to get you back in the store each year. What better way to do that than to require a yearly exam?* The regulatory environment, sadly, often serves to protect these entrenched interests rather than the average consumer or patient. We expect this will change over time, as it has in many other industries recently.
So the Simple Contacts story today is just that— It’s the absolute simplest way to take your yearly eye exam. You can do it all in the app, and you can re-order your contact lenses right in the app too, at prices that are competitive to anywhere else in the industry. Joel and Ryan are talented and hungry repeat founders we’re fortunate to work with. They’re doing real work to help the average consumer of contact lenses, and they’re partnering with many other companies in the space to fitfully drag the optometry business into the 21st century. We won’t spoil all the fun, but needless to say, their long-term plan is wildly ambitious, and it will be built right here in NYC.
We’re psyched to be along for the journey. If you’re a contact lens wearer, please please please save yourself some time and money, and go download their app.
— Nick C.
*It’s still important to go see the eye doctor every so often to actually check the health of your eyes!