October 4, 2011

iPhone app allegedly improves eyesight

by Darren Allan

Like us, you may have to stare at a computer monitor for a full working day, week in, week out, which probably doesn’t do your eyes much good.

We know our glasses prescription has got stronger a few times over the last decade. It can certainly help to keep your eyes well rested in terms of having monitor breaks for five minutes every hour.

And not forgetting to look away from the display every five minutes or so, just to change the focus of your eyes for a brief moment.

Although there’s a natural decline in eye health that comes with age which you can’t really do anything about – not up until now, anyway.

Presbyopia is the condition where the eye becomes less able to focus on objects which are close up, such as words on a page. Its onset usually starts at some point after the age of 40, hence why many older folks need to get themselves a pair of reading glasses.

However, there’s an interesting sounding iPhone app which aims to tackle this problem, and with regular usage can allegedly improve your close vision to become what it was ten years or so previously.

A bold claim indeed.

The app in question is developed by Ucansi (you-can-see, you see?) and is called Glasses Off. It works by flashing up a series of circles, some of which contain “Gabor patches”, and the user has to quickly identify which ones.

Apparently this helps train the brain to compensate for blurred vision close up, effectively turning the brain into a pair of glasses. In other words, the image in your eye might still be blurred, but when processed in the brain, what you actually see won’t be blurry.

This does sound a little odd, and we wonder (a) if there could be any potential side effects and (b) whether it works anyway. Ucansi does have clinical data on its site to back up its claims, but this doesn’t appear to be independently verified.

Still, this is an app to watch (no pun intended) when it comes to the Apple App Store early next year, to see what feedback it gets. Unfortunately it’s a little pricey at £60 for a three month session, which is apparently what you’ll need to get your eyes in ship shape.

If it works, though, that’s a price many people will no doubt gladly pay.

The program will also be available on the PC and other platforms, according to Ucansi.

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