Coming Soon: Myopia-Correcting Glasses
Myopia, also known as near-sightness, is one of the most common visual impairments in America. It is the result of the distance between the cornea and retina increasing, causing light to refract too early. Many people go for optometrist appointments annually to check-up on their eyes and usually get a new pair of lenses to accurately match their new prescription afterwards. What if there was a way to skip that last step? Believe it or not, there already is (and the answer is not skipping your appointment entirely)!
Vision-correction technology in eyewear has been around for quite some time. In fact, the first proposal in the development of self-adjusting eyewear dates back to 1879. Overtime, many scientists have thought of their own variations, such as Professor Joshua Silver, who developed self-adjustable eyeglasses, called Adspecs, in 1985.
Recently, a Japanese medical equipment company, Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings, has released a pair of myopia-correcting glasses, known as the Kubota glasses. To treat myopia, LEDs (framed around each rim), project images into the retina through prisms and mirrors on the lens. One challenge while considering the design of the glasses was choosing the images being projected. The company ran a series of experiments, playing around with colour and geometry to produce the best results. Ultimately, Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings decided on simple images to limit distractions to the eye. By projecting the image slightly ahead of the cornea, the system makes the length between it and the retina shorter, therefore improving eyesight.
Other than correcting one of the most common visual impairments, these glasses come with several benefits. According to the World Health Organization, it is predicted that half of the global population will be expected to have myopia by 2050. By creating these, a person does not have to go through the hassle of buying prescription glasses annually. This can be a revolutionary change to healthcare, especially for countries that lack access to eyecare or individuals that lack the financial resources to obtain eyewear. However, there are still many concerns self-adjustable glasses need to address, including aesthetic, increasing the range of correction available, cost, and more.
For now, the company hopes to begin introducing their glasses to Asian countries, and eventually, overseas. In the future, perhaps you will get your hands on the Kubota glasses!