Kubota Vision Inc. is a clinical-stage ophthalmology company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. (Tokyo 4596), today announced positive clinical results from myopia control tests in humans. Utilizing electronic tabletop optical projection devices that embody Kubota Glasses technology, myopically-defocused images were projected on the peripheral retina of subjects to study if the progression of myopia might be prevented by this method. Based on these positive clinical results, Kubota Vision will accelerate this program to develop wearable devices to prevent myopia in children and improve their health and quality of life without glasses.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive vision disorder which causes blurred sight at a distance. Myopia currently affects 2.56 billion people worldwide and is projected to affect 3.4 billion people by 2030, if current trends remain unchanged*1. Myopia increases the risk of developing sight-threatening diseases such as myopic maculopathy, retinal detachment, and glaucoma – making a measurable impact on society*2. Today children in East Asia, including Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore, develop myopia at a high rate; for example, 96.5% of 19-year-old males suffer from myopia in Seoul*3. Myopia also affects over 40% of individuals over the age of 12 years in the U.S.*4.
In this study, Kubota Vision monitored the effect of the application of a myopically-defocused stimulus on the retina on axial length in 12 subjects of aged 21 to 32 years (7 Asian, 4 White, and 1 Hispanic subjects; 9 males and 3 females) with spherical refractive error of -3.5D〜0.0D. The results of this clinical study demonstrated that axial length decreases with the application of projected myopically-defocused images in the test eye compared to the control eye, which has not been reported in the literature. Based on these results, Kubota Glasses technology could potentially lead to a wearable device for myopia control, either as a spectacle lens or a soft contact lens. The company is planning to submit full data for scientific publication.
Kubota Vision is planning to use the Kubota Glasses technology to develop smart glasses and smart contact lens for myopia prevention. A clinical study with a prototype design of the smart glasses is scheduled to be completed in the latter half of 2020, and a wearable prototype is expected to be available by December 2020. The development plan for a smart contact lens with Kubota Glasses technology will be disclosed as the project progresses. The company envisions applications of Kubota Glasses technology in augmented reality (AR) devices and virtual reality (VR) devices to protect children’s vision through myopia prevention.
Ryo Kubota, MD, Ph.D., Chairman, President and CEO of Kubota Vision Inc., stated, “These positive clinical results have brought about a great amount of excitement for the potential treatment of myopia. With Kubota Glasses providing us with the optimism of being able to prevent any associated eye disease causing blindness, we have taken that significant step forward in our mission of reaching a ‘World without Blindness.’”
Arkady Selenow, O.D., F.A.A.O., Senior Research Director of Manhattan Vision Associates / Institute for Vision Research, New York in the U.S.*5, stated, “We are both excited and encouraged by the initial clinical trial results of this novel form of vision-based light therapy, which has the potential to control myopia-related disease progression.”
*1 Report of the Joint World Health Organization–Brien Holden Vision Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. The impact of myopia and high myopia. 16–18 March 2015. https://www.who.int/blindness/causes/MyopiaReportforWeb.pdf.
*2 Flitcroft DI. The complex interactions of retinal, optical and environmental factors in myopia aetiology. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2012 Nov;31(6):622-60
*3 Dolin E. The myopia boom. Nature 2015 Mar 19;519(7543):276-8
*4 Prevalence. International Myopia Institute. https://www.myopiainstitute.org/prevalence.html. Accessed May 15, 2020.