The GlassesOff mobile app has been found to significantly improve the critical visual activity of the pilots, a new study commissioned by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has revealed.
Undertaken in collaboration with the IAF’s Israeli Aeromedical Unit (IAMU), the study demonstrated improvement across multiple visual functions, including a 35% improvement in visual acuity and 24% improvement in image processing speed.
Prior to start of GlassesOff programme, the participants, including IAF pilots and co-pilots, underwent extensive vision exams.
Pilots having symptoms of age-related decline in near vision and would likely soon require reading glasses for flights, and those who were already required to wear reading glasses during flights, were selected for the programme.
The participants engaged in three 12 to 15-minute sessions a week of playing the GlassesOff app over a two-to-four month period, and more than 70% of the participants self-reported substantial changes in their near visual acuity and 60% self-reported improved reaction times.
Wolfson Medical Center vice-director and IAMU former commander Yuval Levy said: "I believe these effects will result in operational benefits for air force pilots.
"By improving visual stimuli response rates and increasing visual field size, air force pilots would identify faster and react quicker to objects rapidly entering the pilots’ visual field, such as missiles or other aircraft.
"In addition to this, they are expected to have better performance while using night vision goggles or helmet display."
GlassesOff chief executive officer Nimrod Madar said: "Similar to top athletes, air force pilots typically have superior vision skills compared to age-matched civilians, making it that much more challenging to help them achieve significant visual acuity and image processing speed improvements.
"We believe that our current and future products will assist professional athletes and anyone else who is engaged in sports that require fast image processing speed, such as baseball, basketball, football, tennis, martial arts and others, to become better at their sport by helping them react faster and more accurately to challenging game situations."
Around 32 pilots and co-pilots completed the GlassesOff programme, while 28 participants were given an extensive vision exam post-programme completion.
The study data has been presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago, Illinois, US.