Can an iOS App Really Improve Your Vision?

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      Retro graphics are a popular trend in games these days, but what if those blurry, pixelated graphics are actually supposed to look sharp? If you find your vision fading after a lifetime of playing video games, it might be time to visit an optometrist and consider some new glasses. A cheaper (though less reliable) alternative is to download a new iOS app called Ultimeyes, which claims to help improve your vision. 

      To see benefits from using Ultimeyes, the developers recommend using it for 25 minutes at least four times a week, for eight weeks, or approximately the same amount of time you’re already planning to play Hearthstone. The app consists of a series of training exercises, such as tapping on a colored square that is closest to the opening on a black-and-white symbol, or tapping on gray targets against a slightly lighter gray background.

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      Though it won’t win any awards for best graphics, Ultimeyes is an intriguing take on the “brain training” genre of puzzle and logic games. Instead of quizzing you with math problems or trivia questions, Ultimeyes is like a long, drawn-out eye test. The developer claims some academic credentials in their press release, including a study performed on UC Riverside baseball players using the app:

      “The most notable study was conducted by the University of California, Riverside in collaboration with the UCR Highlanders baseball team. On average, the visual acuity increased 31%, with seven of the players’ vision improving to 20/7.5 using a standard Snellen chart. Normal vision using the Snellen chart is 20/20. The improved vision resulted in batting performance strikeouts decreasing 4.4% and increasing the number of runs created.  Using Bill James formula for runs created, the researchers calculated that the team created 41 more runs, resulting in 4 to 5 additional wins for the season.”

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      So there you have it — with two hours a week of extra practice with Ultimeyes, you can hit balls out of the park on the cheap, Moneyball-style. However, we should note that the study wasn’t compared to a different app, like R.B.I. Baseball or the iOOTP baseball management sim. The study also didn’t compare the improvement in ability compared to, say, two hours more a week in a batting cage or at team practice.

      We’re a bit skeptical that Ultimeyes will really “lessen the need for reading glasses” as the developers claim, but if you want to give it a try, you can download Ultimeyes for $5.99 here.