FTC cracks down on vision “improvement” phone app

It’s a shame that this company has such a great name and a snappy name for the product. However, it doesn’t work. You probably can’t improve your vision with an app and it’s not about “neuroplasticity” which is a sciencey word used here in order to impress consumers.

FTC Charges Marketers of ‘Vision Improvement’ App With Deceptive Claims | Federal Trade Commission

The California-based marketers of a software application for mobile devices and personal computers have agreed to stop making deceptive claims that their “Ultimeyes” app can improve users’ vision in order to settle FTC charges. Under the terms of a proposed settlement with the FTC, Carrot Neurotechnology, Inc. and its co-owners have also agreed to disgorge $150,000.

“This case came down to the simple fact that ‘Ultimeyes’ promoters did not have the scientific evidence to support their claims that the app could improve users’ vision,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Health-related apps can offer benefits to consumers, but the FTC will not hesitate to act when health-related claims are not based on sound science.”

But they sold the product saying they DID claim it was “scientifically shown to improve vision.”

The FTC will soon publish a description of the consent agreement in the Federal Register where it will be open for public comment.

Back in 2014, CBS News did a story on Ultimeyes and a similar app called “Glasses Off”. The piece had a skeptical blurb by an ophthalmologist who said:

“Human vision quality is determined by the physical eye and the way the brain reads the information that the eye captures,” she said. “To think that we can reverse presbyopia or reverse having to wear glasses for myopia and any of those different prescriptions solely on neuroplasticity is just not accurate.”

Yet the Ultimeyes company said that in younger people, training the eyes can produce an edge, however slight. There was some neurobabble to go along with that.

The studies cited in support of Glasses Off are small or address those with vision issues like lazy eye. It’s not clear if this work directly supports their claim that an app will improve your vision. There appears to be no action taken by the FTC for that app though they also claim they have a “scientifically proven” proprietary method for improving vision.

There is no quick and easy $10 fix for aging eyes, except cheap reading glasses.

  1 comment for “FTC cracks down on vision “improvement” phone app

  1. Grumpy
    September 21, 2015 at 4:17 PM

    Aha! A hi-tec legacy of the good Dr Bates. (* snigger *)

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