Pilots! Improve your near vision?

GlassesOffAt my age, although so far avoiding the need for corrective lenses for my vision, I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I’ll need to use glasses for reading – including map/iPad reading while navigating.

However, now comes (among several other studies) a piece of research commissioned by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in conjunction with the Israeli Aeromedical Unit (IAMU) which suggests than an iPhone/iPad App can improve your near vision… The results of the study, presented at a recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, showed that by using the mobile App pilots improved across multiple visual functions, including 35% improvement in visual acuity and 24% improvement in image processing speed. Further, more than 70% of the participants also reported substantial changes in their near-visual acuity and 60% reported improved reaction times.

So what’s the App? It’s called GlassesOff and it’s available for both Apple and Android devices through iTunes and other online sources.

The GlassesOff App apparently concentrates not on your eyes themselves but on the other part of your vision – the way the signals from your eyes are processed in your brain’s cortex. To begin to see(!) improvements, you need to do at least three 10-15 minute sessions a week, over a period of several months. After the initial period, ongoing ‘update sessions’ should only be needed a couple of times a month to maintain your improvements. Built in to the App is an initial sight evaluation and the length of time needed for improvements is based on regular evaluations of your eye-sight.

GlassesOff offers a 2-week free trial period that includes a free vision evaluation and 2-weeks worth of sessions. Only after you complete the first phase and (hopefully) experience the product’s benefits will you need to pay for a subscription in order to advance to the next phases.

In Australia, iTunes store costs start at A$12.99 for a month’s subscription and rise to A$74,99 for a 12 month subscription.

Now, I’m a bit skeptical when it comes to what appear to be ‘alternative’ therapies. I like to see/hear that there are proven benefits before investing my hard-earned $$. However, if the IAF/IAMU and other reputable bodies have recorded measurable improvements, I might just give it a go – even a year’s subscription to this App compares reasonably with the cost of a visit to the optician and a pair of bi-focals or other spectacles. Also bearing in mind that, as a pilot, you are required to carry a back-up pair of glasses as well as the originals.

I’ll aim to give a hands-on (eyes-on?) report in a few months time.