As children these days are constantly hooked to this or that gadget, their eyes are often weak, sometimes considerably so. Yet this problem with perhaps the most sensitive organs in their body is often ignored.
When Baibhav Pandey, 27, first heard about a young boy being prescribed a negative six vision correction on his very first checkup, he knew there was a problem. “During my school years, I had a bench-mate who always had trouble seeing the board. We used to give him our notes to copy from,” Pandey tells ApEx. “The further back he would be seated in the class, the more he’d squint. This went on for months and we simply considered it normal.”
To this day, ophthalmologists and opticians are generally consulted only when problems go from uncomfortable to unbearable.
It was to tackle this issue that Pandey along with another founder, who’s chosen to remain anonymous, launched Netrakart. Starting out as a simple website for ordering lenses in its planning phase, Netrakart has now evolved into a proper eye healthcare service provider.
What makes Netrakart unique are its three main services—prescription eye-wear orders, home try-on and home eye checkup.
As one of Nepal’s first prescription-based eyewear e-commerce, Netrakart makes buying glasses convenient. With free login on its website, one can simply enter their lens prescription, pick a frame and confirm order. Another noteworthy feature is its impressive range of frames. The collection, sectioned into premium and economy classes, includes typical plastic frames to coveted brand frames from Gucci, Cartier and Tom Ford, with prices ranging from Rs. 300-400 for economy frames to Rs 5,000 or above for premium frames. Likewise, the economy lens consists of simple blue-ray blocking formula while premium lens include products from the likes of Crizal and Hoya.
Home try-on, true to its name, allows one to order up to five different style of frames and pick the one that fits their facial structure, with the customers getting five days to make a decision. The total price for this service is Rs 25, Rs 5 for each frame.
Following this is perhaps the most notable of Netrakart’s services, the home eye checkup. In partnership with Vision Concern Optical, the company brings an authentic eye clinic to your doorstep. Along with its own assistant, the company sends an optometrist for examination. The assistant carries an equipment bag which includes the trial lens set, ophthalmoscopy, retinoscopy, vision chart and a measuring tape. After the setup, the examination that follows is similar to that in a clinic. There are questions of comfort, talks about vision chart and a prescription at the end, according to requirement. If the examination calls for a hospital visit, Netrakart’s website allows you to book an appointment at Matrika Eye Center.
Inside the Ring Road, the price of home eye checkup is Rs 400 for a person. For more than one person in the family needing examination, it’s Rs. 300 per person. Outside the Ring Road, the price for a single checkup is Rs 600, and for two or more, it’s Rs. 400 per person. This service is limited inside the Kathmandu valley for now.
So far, the biggest struggle for Netrakart has been making customers believe in the authenticity of business. “Many are still hesitant to trust a service that comes from an online portal,” Pandey says. “They question the equipment used, the doctor’s credibility and whether the checkup will be an efficient one.”
Yet there is no denying that home checkup and glasses have been handy at the time of an insidious pandemic.