Singapore has one of highest prevalences for myopia — or nearsightedness — in the world, with 83 per cent of young adults being myopic, according to statistics shared by Lam Pin Min, former Senior Minister of State for Health in a 2019 speech.
There may be good news for those of us in Singapore with myopia in the coming year, though, as Japanese company Kubota Vision plans to begin selling its smart glasses that treats myopia to Asian markets, including Singapore, in the second half of 2021.
Wearing glasses for 60 to 90 minutes reduces myopia
So how does wearing a pair of glasses fix the issue of nearsightedness?
Kubota Glasses project an image from the glasses' lens onto the wearer's eye, which adjust the distance between the cornea and the retina.
Myopia is a refractive vision disorder, and occurs when the length of the eye is too great, making the cornea and retina too far apart.
This results in blurry vision from a distance.
According to a press release on May 17, 2020, a clinical study conducted in early-2020 on 12 young adults between the ages of 21 and 32 found that the projection of myopically-defocused images onto the subjects' eyes led to decreases in the lengths of their eyes.
Nikkei Asia reported on Jan. 23, 2021 that Kubota said that wearing the glasses for 60 to 90 minutes per day corrects myopia.
Timeline of progression
In an Aug. 24, 2020 press release, Kubota announced that they had successfully completed a proof-of-concept (POC) clinical study that confirmed the findings of the initial study could be replicated with a wearable device — the smart glasses.
Then, on Dec. 16, Kubota announced that it had completed the first spectacle-style wearable prototype.
The company will continue to conduct further clinical studies to verify the changes in eye length caused by the image projection over a longer period of time.
It also said that it is working on product design improvements, and plans to have additional clinical studies for regulatory approvals.
In these further clinical trials, Kubota will also try to determine how long the correction lasts after the wearer uses the smart glasses, as well as how many days in total the glasses must be worn in order to permanently correct the myopia, Nikkei Asia wrote.
Kubota will reportedly conduct clinical tests on about 25 people in the U.S.
The company plans to begin rolling out the smart glasses to Asian markets — including Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Malaysia — in the second half of 2021, reported Nikkei Asia.
According to its website, Kubota also plans to develop a smart contact lens to correct myopia with the Kubota Glasses technology.
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Top photo via Twitter / Ryo Kubota.