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Can an app help improve your vision? Science says yes.

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With hundreds of thousands of available apps, there just might be one for every need. Take UltimEyes, for example. The software, which runs on Windows(s msft), Mac(s aapl) and iOS, claims to improve your vision. Does it work? According to a study in Current Biology, found by way of Popular Mechanics, the answer is a surprising yes.


University of California, Riverside neuroscientist Aaron Seitz, who created the software, shared recent results with Current Biology, with eye-popping results:

“Seitz worked with 19 players on the University of California, Riverside, baseball team, and showed that his app UltimEyes lengthened the distance at which the players could see clearly by an average of 31 percent. After using the app for 30 25-minute intervals, players saw an improvement that pushed many of them beyond normal 20/20 vision, including seven who attained freakishly good 20/7.5 vision—meaning that at a distance of 20 feet, they were clearly seeing what someone with normal vision could see at no farther than 7.5 feet away.”

So is this magic or science? Based on the opinion of another neuroscientist not affiliated with UltimEyes, it’s the latter. neuroscientist Peggy Series, from the University of Edinburgh, told Popular Mechanics that “these results are, in fact, very similar to what’s already been proven in the lab.”

How does it work? UltimEyes is less about training your eyes than it is about training your brain.

The software is basically a game that shows you fuzzy patterns that you try to identify as quickly as possible from a similarly colored background. Faster speeds and repetition “teach” the brain to better process visual stimulation quicker, which can result in improved vision at farther distances.

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UltimEyes costs $5.99 and as a nearsighted person for the majority of my life, I’m leaning towards the purchase. Heck, I spend nearly that much on an afternoon espresso and that only lasts me an hour. Improvements to my vision that could last a lifetime are surely worth the cost and effort. And there will be a little effort: UltimEyes suggests using the app four times a week in 25 minute sessions for eight weeks. I can live with that if it works.