Feds Say Vision-Improvement App Not Backed By Science

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 4.10.37 PMThey say that staring at a computer for hours at a time can ruin you vision, so it might be hard to swallow claims that a mobile app can improve your vision… especially when science doesn’t back it up.

Carrot Neurotechnology, the maker of Ultimeyes app, agreed today to pay $150,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges it deceived consumers with claims that its app could improve users vision.

According to the FTC complaint [PDF], since 2012, Carrot Nuerotechnology and its co-owners Adam Goldberg and Aaron Seitz advertised and sold Ultimeyes on the company’s website and through third-party app stores including the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, claiming it is “scientifically shown to improve vision.”

The app which sold for between $5.99 to $9.99, brought in more than $350,000 in sales from January 2012 to June 2015, the complaint states.

The FTC alleges that ads for the app deceptively stated it would “Turn Back The Clock On Your Vision,” and that users would benefit from “comprehensive vision improvement” for activities such as sports, reading and driving.

Among other unsubstantiated claims, the app purportedly improved vision on average by 31% and two lines on the Snellen eye chart.

Additionally, the operators claimed that using the app would “reverse, delay, or correct aging eye or presbyopia, including, but not limited to, by improving night vision, improving users’ ability to read in dim light, and diminishing the need for glasses or other visual aids.”

Carrot Neurotechnoloy claimed that the app’s capabilities were supported by studies and “scientific research” conducted by co-owner Aaron Seitz.

However, the FTC alleges that these studies don’t prove the app works as promised, and that Carrot Neurotechnology failed to disclose Seitz relationship to the company.

In addition to paying a $150,000 fine, the proposed settlement [PDF] orders Carrot Neurotechnology and its owners to provide “competent and reliable scientific evidence” before making the vision claims about Ultimeyes and other products.

The order also prohibits the company from misrepresenting any scientific research, and it requires it to clearly disclose any connections with anyone conducting or participating in scientific research they cite as substantiation for their claims, and with anyone endorsing their products.

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

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