- Title: The app teaching people over 40 to see clearly again
- Date: 6th December 2016
- Summary: JERUSALEM (RECENT) (REUTERS) WOMAN'S READING GLASSES/NEWSPAPER WOMAN'S READING GLASSES ELDERLY WOMAN LOOKING AT IPAD JERUSALEM (RECENT) (REUTERS) WOMAN LOOKING AT SMARTPHONE IN CAFE WOMAN'S FINGERS TAPPING ON SMARTPHONE
- Embargoed: 21st December 2016 09:47
- Keywords: Glassesoff Judith Schwartz Gabor app
- Location: TEL AVIV AND QIRYAT ONO, ISRAEL / JERUSALEM/ UNKNOWN
- City: TEL AVIV AND QIRYAT ONO, ISRAEL / JERUSALEM/ UNKNOWN
- Country: Israel
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BQTYZ9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Whether it's reading a newspaper or looking at your smartphone screen, if you're over 40 you may need reading glasses.
But an Israeli company says its mobile app can help you get rid of those glasses within three months - if you have the discipline to stick to a rigid training regime.
GlassesOff is an exercise training program for the eyes using images that stimulate the part of the brain responsible for image processing.
'Gabor Images' are graphic representations of electrical pulses which are sent from the retina to be processed in the brain and are recognised as the best visual stimulants for increasing effectiveness of the neurons in the primary visual cortex.
The company has developed a proprietary visual processing improvement algorithm that uses Gabor images in order to improve near vision abilities.
The company says that within two to three months of disciplined training, three times per week for 12 to 15 minutes per day - most users will no longer need reading glasses, for the cost of $10 per month.
After the initial extensive training, users move into a 'maintenance' mode, in which they need to train once or twice per month, at a monthly cost of $5-$10, to compensate for any potential additional degradation of the ageing eye, thereby keeping their status of independence from reading glasses.
As a result of the training, the company says, the signal the brain receives from the eye is not improved, but the brains learns how to process information faster and more effectively in order to compensate for the eye's natural deterioration and retrieve a sharp near vision ability, eliminating the need for reading glasses.
Shai Novik, chairman and co-founder, said GlassesOff not only improves contrast sensitivity but also image processing speed, which is critical to effectively process visual information that arrives with some lack of clarity from an ageing eye.
"This is...high-end visual exercises that drain you out...It's very very difficult. But if you do it, you can get free. Just be free of your need to wear reading glasses. And for a large part of the population, that is something that is very critical for them," Novik said, adding that unlike any other visual training program, the studies on which GlassesOff app is based were published several times in peer-reviewed science journal Nature.
One of these studies, conducted by GlassesOff co-founder Professor Uri Polat at the University of California at Berkley, USA, indicated that 90 percent of participants regained the ability to read without glasses after undergoing the GlassesOff program, and their eye age was reduced by an average of 8.6 years, the company said.
Another study, conducted on Israeli Air Force fighter pilots, who were reaching 40 years of age or just passed it, showed that most of them experienced significant increase in near vision abilities, including image processing speed (+25 percent) and depth perception (+48 percent), the company said.
Polat explained that the app improves vision by enhancing the brain's processing power, since we actually see with our brain, not our eyes.
"What we're doing actually, we work on connectivity between the neurons. This is what I discovered that we need to see contours, so we need to connect neurones to see better contours (of the Gabor Images), we increase the efficiency of the neurons so everything become to be more efficient and faster. And we improve the processing speed of the brain. And by this, the brain can see more images at the same time so you can do more processing, within the same time it will be much more efficient," Polat said.
Judith Schwartz, who has been religiously training with the Glassesoff programme since 2008, says she regained her near vision abilities and no longer needs reading glasses.
"The app simply changed my life. I sit in a cafe with my friends, most of them nine years younger than me, they all use reading glasses. I'm the only one sitting without glasses, reading the menus, sending text messages, reading the newspaper freely without any assistance," she said.
Novik said that $15 million has been invested in the company since 2008 and to date 1 million people have installed the app. Plans for the future include improving data processing capabilities for school children, sports players and even soldiers, he said.
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