The app of my eye: new technology could help eliminate the need for glasses

February 19, 2014
3 min read

There’s certainly truth to the popular Apple catchphrase “there’s an app for that”, as evidenced with the recent release of a new app from GlassesOff, which claims to help users improve their eyesight and eliminate the need for reading glasses.

Presbyopia, which is difficulty seeing items up close, sets in around age 40 and increases as one ages. Because of this condition, likelihood of wearing reading or prescription glasses is higher for older consumers. Mintel’s Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses—US, September 2013 reports that 27% of respondents aged 55-64 wear over-the-counter reading glasses.

To help address this common malady, GlassesOff  developed an app based on the learning that vision happens in the brain, and the brain can be trained to interpret data differently. GlassesOff consists of games that a user plays over time to exercise the visual cortex of their brain. The games include visual stimulation tasks, such as looking at fuzzy images for varying time lengths. After three 12-minute sessions per week for three months, users should have improved vision.

The program includes a free trial version where users can get a vision evaluation and experience the first phase of sessions. However, in order to advance, users need the full app which costs $60. Cost could be a barrier, especially for older glasses wearers who seek to save money on corrective vision.  That said, the aspect of self-improvement is appealing to a wide variety of consumers, and will resonate with those looking to improve their vision or eliminate the need for glasses.

GlassesOff is geared toward older consumers, whose eyesight diminishes with age. As identified in Mintel’s Marketing to Baby Boomers—US, January 2014, Baby Boomers are notoriously sensitive to marketing that defines them as being “old.” GlassesOff would likely appeal to younger Boomers, who want to stay youthful as long as they can. Appealing to this group with messaging about how to keep their eyes young could resonate.

Using games to improve eyesight opens up the market for new programs that can help with a range of vision issues. For example, vision companies could create a program for those who are near-sighted, to help with seeing distance. Additionally, vision therapy for athletes who depend on quick eye reactions could be another avenue for further development. Self-help technology such as GlassesOff can be an extension of professional eye care, by moving into the personal vision therapy space.

The influx of tablets and smartphones, and subsequently apps, continues to help consumers evolve and improve their well-being.  Visionary?  Maybe.  Cool?  Definitely.

Emily’s expertise is health and wellness trends. As the team’s health and wellness expert, she leverages her knowledge across the health and wellness care series of reports, as well as related household, consumer packaged goods, and beauty reports.


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