Smart glasses
Image Credit: Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings

Imagine wearing a pair of glasses and slowly but surely having your vision perfected forever. For people with nearsightedness or myopia, this is the fantasy. without surgical intervention and improved vision, is this even possible?

Tokyo-based company Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings trusts it is. The company’s group has developed a wearable device that — can improve partial blindness only by placing it in front of your eyes much the same as you would glasses.

known as Kubota Glasses, the device is as of now still a prototype and in its testing stages, yet it has so far demonstrated promising outcomes.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive vision disorder that causes blurred sight at a distance. It occurs when the length of the eye (known as axial length) is too great; myopia progresses as axial length increases with age, until the early 20s.

Kubota’s first goal is to start releasing its “smart” glasses in Asia, where a high number of people struggle with myopia. As the company stated, of people 20 years and under 95% Japanese, 96% South Koreans, 85% Taiwanese, 87% Hong Kongers, and 82% Singaporeans need to wear glasses for nearsightedness. And in the world as a whole, some 2.56 billion people suffer from myopia.

So it’s safe to say that such a new device would be very welcome by a very large number of people. 

The Kubota Glasses work by projecting an image from the lens of the device onto the wearer’s retina so as to correct the refractive error that causes myopia. The company stated that wearing the glasses between 60 to an hour and a half each day helped correct vision.

However, it has yet to find out how many days, weeks, months, or years wearers need to use the device daily for its effects to last, nor has it disclosed how long these effects last and if they are permanent. Kubota plans on carrying out further clinical trials and tests to figure these points, and more, out.

The group has already begun a clinical trial in the U.S. involving 25 people, after which the company intends “To sell it (the glasses) first in Asia, which has a high ratio of nearsighted people,” said Ryo Kubota, the company’s president.

Starting clinical trials began last Summer, and the company is also looking into contact lenses as another way of correcting myopia — a method already trialed in Israel two years ago.

Creating non-invasive corrective methods for vision improvement would make the lives of billions of people around the globe much simpler, and lovely.

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