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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

iPhone app's claim that it can improve your eyesight might not be just hokum (unless it is)

The GlassesOff app comprises two components — "game-like challenges" undertaken about three times a week, over a period of three months, and maintenance sessions every few weeks.

GlassesOff Inc.

The GlassesOff app comprises two components — "game-like challenges" undertaken about three times a week, over a period of three months, and maintenance sessions every few weeks.

10

December

See what you think of this:

"Practically anyone can use GlassesOff to improve near vision sharpness by improving the image processing function of the brain," says the app's description in Apple's App Store. "some people will be able to completely eliminate their dependency on reading glasses by enhancing their brain's image processing function. … Just 12-15 minutes a day, 3 times a week over a period of about 3 months — that's all it takes to improve your near vision sharpness."

I'm not sure what it means if you're still reading. I'm pretty much conditioned to move on after hearing even the start of a pitch that seems too good to be true. And even if I sat tight, $59 price tag for four months' "training" (after a three-week free trial) is at least $58 more than I'd need to hear to keep reading.

But GlassesOff seems to at least have some actual research to back up its claims. The Wall Street Journal reports the app is based on a scientifically tested training program. How conclusive was that 30-person study, published in the February 2012 issue (PDF link) of Scientific Reports? I'm not in a good position to judge. The WSJ says the study's participants were able to read letters 1.6 times smaller than they could previously after training, but my knee-jerk response was that 30 is a pretty small number when it comes to participants in a medical study.

But Scientific Reports and the Wall Street Journal seem to be willing to stake a little credibility on GlassesOff. And right now, at least, the company is running a promotion that knocks that $59 price tag down to $10.

So give it a shot, if you're curious. Just remember: Let the buyer beware. And you know what they say about something that sounds too good to be true.

Tip o' the hat to The Unofficial Apple Weblog: App claims to be able to improve your vision, and science says it works (Dec. 10).

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 2:00pm]

    

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