A company that says it stems from about 20 years of research is ready to enter the global optical market with a patented software training program that claims to correct certain eye deficiencies like presbyopia, delaying the need for reading glasses. The company, called Neurovision, plans to spend an additional $13.5 million across all sectors on R&D over the next five years on its innovation. Neurovision has already been selling its product to both medical professionals and retailers in parts of Asia, and the recent Vision Expo East was its debut in the USA.

The program involves looking at a bright object against a light background while an object is shown at different visibility frequencies, and responding to simple demands while the program calculates the weaknesses in the individual's eyesight. Sessions last about 20-30 minutes each day, for about 30 total sessions. The Singapore-based company claims that most people notice their vision improving within two weeks, but acknowledges that the progress varies from person to person.

While the program cannot permanently cure presbyopia, it can delay the process by 2-3 years, depending on the individual, the company says. It also treats ambyopia, low myopia and post-LASIK myopia. Neurovison's main selling point for the treatment is its simplicity, as it requires no surgery and carries no risks.

In the UK, meanwhile, a British contact lens company, No 7 Contact Lens, is using information seminars and press conferences to introduce an alternative method, called orthokeratology, designed to correct myopia by flattening and reshaping the cornea without surgery.

The concept has existed since the 1960's, but the associated cost and a lack of materials prevented the technology from being available on a large scale. A Dutch-based company, ProCornea, was the first one to manufacture the Ortho K lens en masse for consumers in 2002. There are currently about 40 companies who manufacture these lenses worldwide. The lenses are already popular in Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and the USA, but remain relatively new to the UK and some other markets.

In the UK, where refractive surgery has come under some criticism recently, 7 Contact Lens is incorporating this technolgoy into its Ortho K contact lenses, claiming that they temporarily correct myopia, or nearsightedness, for about a day after they are worn overnight during sleep and removed in the morning. The Ortho K contact lenses cost about £100 (€145.60-$184) for the initial consultation, which includes an optician creating topographical maps of the patient's cornea, and £40 (€58.20-$73.60) for every following month.