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Japanese Firm Develops Vision-Improving Smart Glasses

The glasses passively stimulate the retina in eyeballs to correct myopia over time.

Imagine wearing a pair of glasses and slowly but surely having your vision perfected forever. For people with myopia or nearsightedness, this is the dream. No corrective surgery and improved vision, is this even possible? 

Japan's Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings believes it is. The company's team has created a wearable device that can improve nearsightedness merely by placing it in front of your eyes just like you would glasses. 

Called the Kubota Glasses, the device is currently still a prototype and in its testing stages, but it has so far shown promising results. 

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Myopia is typically caused when the cornea and the retina in the eyeball are too far apart. Proper light focus is then inhibited, leading to blurred vision of objects at a distance.

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 96% South Koreans, 95% Japanese, 87% Hong Kongers, 85% Taiwanese, 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. 

How the Kubota Glasses work

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 90 minutes per 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. 

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The team has already started 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.

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

Developing non-invasive corrective methods for vision improvement would make the lives of billions of people around the world a lot easier, and pleasant.

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