Very limited sale of glasses that can halt or reverse nearsightedness begin in Japan

A pair of truly “corrective” lenses?

I have long been a shortsighted person, and it’s not just because I sold all my Apple stock in 2006. I, like many other myopic people, cannot see things very well beyond a meter or so from my nose. While options like laser surgery exist, for the most part I resigned myself to a life of glasses on my face.

But now a promise of something better has emerged from Kubota Pharmaceutical in the form of specially designed glasses that are said to be able to reverse the effects of myopia. 

▼ They really are special looking

The most common form of shortsightedness is called axial myopia, which is where the person’s eyeballs get kind of squished into a more oval shape lengthwise from focusing too much on things close to it. Naturally, as a person loses long-distance sight, they rely more on short-distance sight, and the condition just gets worse and worse.

What Kubota Glass does is shine some really tiny lights at your retina to simulate short-distance blurring, forcing you to look further ahead and in doing so taking the pressure of the axial deformation of eyeballs. It’s sort of like how some people have reported in improvement in their vision from VR, only far more refined.

▼ Kubota Glass is actually a wearable tech version of more elaborate myopia treatment equipment

Long-term testing is still required to gauge how effective Kubota Glass is at this in detail, but studies so far suggest that they are at least effective at curbing the progression of myopia.

That’s been enough to have gotten Kubota Glass approved as a medical device in Taiwan and the USA. Kubota Pharmaceutical seems to have a lot of faith in them too, so much so that they’re charging 770,000 yen (US$5,700) a pair. That’s probably too steep for a lot of people to take a chance on this as of yet virtually unknown treatment, but the makers are putting their money where their mouths are and also offering a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee on this first wave of glasses.

“Wave” might be too strong a word, however, since there’s actually only 20 pairs up for grabs from between 1 August to 15 September sold from only four opticians in Japan — three in Hyogo Prefecture and one in Kanagawa. This is a trial run to gauge demand for future sales.

・Niimi Eye Institute (Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture)
・Neue (Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture)
・Neue Kids (Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)
・Tokyo Contact Sky Building Glasses (Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture)

▼ There will also be a one-day pop-up store on the 4th floor of the Seishin Building in Shinjuku on 9 August

Hopefully it will prove to be a much needed tool in the fight against shortsightedness. According to research by the company, myopia is a rapidly growing problem that is expected to affect half of the global population by 2050. It is especially prevalent among younger generations growing up on portable screens to watch their TikTok and Pac-Man video games on. 

A study by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology found back in 2009 that about 25 percent of first graders had less that perfect eyesight, a figure that shot up to 50 percent among sixth-graders.

So let’s hope that Kubota Glass, or preferably a more affordable version of it, has what it takes to stem this tide before we all start bumping into telephone polls all the time. I’d actually like to try them just because they look kind of cool in a steampunk sort of way — kind of like Batou from Ghost in the Shell or Strong Guy from the New Mutants.

Source, images: PR Times (1, 2, 3) via ITmedia Business Online
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times (1, 2)
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