Focus View

Dialogue [Sahara Desert Marathon and Eyewear]

Exchange communication with Mr Okubo who overcame cancer and challenged Sahara Desert Marathon.

We introduced Mr. Okubo in this Focus View last year. He is a man who overcame cancer and then took on the challenge of the Sahara Desert Marathon. This is the sequel to that. We had the opportunity to receive a talk about support activities for cancer patients and marathon efforts from Mr. Okubo under the sponsorship of Mitsui Chemicals. We engaged in dialogue with Mr. Okubo titled the “Sahara Desert Marathon and Eyewear” prior to that talk. Yoshiaki Igarashi from the Vision Care Materials Division was the person who engaged in the dialogue with Mr. Okubo.

Igarashi:First of all, congratulations on completing the marathon. I have the impression that the intense sunlight of the Sahara Desert puts a great strain on your eyes. How was that when you actually ran the marathon?

Okubo:When I took on the challenge of the Sahara Desert Marathon this time, I held several meetings with my sponsor Mitsui Chemicals. Mitsui Chemicals provided me with NeoContrast™ eyewear and polarized sunglasses. Actually, my eyes are quite weak. After running, even wearing sunglasses, I always have red eyes. That even happens to me in Japan, so I wondered what would happen in the scorching desert with the sun relentlessly pouring down on me. The polarized sunglasses that Mitsui Chemicals provided me with did a great job in the sunlight that seemed to pierce my eyes.

Igarashi: I have heard that runners in the Sahara Desert Marathon continue to run even after sunset in addition to during the day. I believe that you wear your NeoContrast™ eyewear when running after sunset. Was NeoContrast™ eyewear useful?

Okubo:The 76.3-kilometer fourth stage of the Sahara Desert Marathon was overnight. This meant I ran in the Sahara Desert at night. However, it was a dark world with absolutely no light. There are no homes and no people. Even with a headlight, I could only see two to three meters in front of me. I relied on the small fluorescent chemical lights placed on the ground every 500 meters to indicate the course by the marathon organizer. They were about the size of the microphone I am holding now. They emitted a yellow-green light. The runners also ran with the same fluorescent chemical lights attached to the back of their rucksacks like a marker to those behind them. They emitted a yellow light. When I was tired and my eyes became blurry, I could no longer really tell whether the distant lights were yellow-green or yellow. If I mistook those, I would lose my course. However, when I wore my NeoContrast™ eyewear, I could clearly see the differences in the colors in the dark. I was able to properly identify the yellow-green fluorescent chemical lights of the markers. That meant I was able to reach the next checkpoint without losing my course in the dead of night. I heard that the desert is dusty from the people who have run the Sahara Desert Marathon. Therefore, I was just trying to prevent the dust from entering my eyes at first. However, my NeoContrast™ eyewear worked better than I expected.

Igarashi:NeoContrast™ eyewear is characterized by the fact it is possible to easily identify the boundaries of objects even when it is dark and the differences in color are difficult to see. Were there other settings in which your NeoContrast™ eyewear was useful?

Okubo:The runners sleep in large tents prepared by the marathon organizers. However, it is less than six degrees at night, so I ended up needing to use the toilet. The temporary toilets were separated from the tent. However, there are many plants with thorns in the desert. The rocks are also rugged. Accordingly, it is very dangerous if you cannot see your feet. If I had stumbled, I might have had trouble completing the marathon. Therefore, I went to the toilet wearing my NeoContrast™ eyewear just in case. Thanks to that, I was able to go to the toilet with peace of mind.

Igarashi:There are many settings in which NeoContrast™ eyewear allows us to see more easily even in our everyday lives. Have you used your NeoContrast™ eyewear since you returned home from the Sahara Desert Marathon?

Okubo:During New Year, I drove to my hometown and I wore NeoContrast™ eyewear. My parent’s home is in Nagano Prefecture. Along the way to Nagano Prefecture from Tokyo on the Chuo Expressway in the evening, it constantly got afternoon sun exposure. Therefore, I wore my polarized sunglasses. After the sun set, I also wore my NeoContrast™ eyewear for driving. It halved the glare of the lights of the oncoming vehicles and eliminated the stress of driving for long hours.

Igarashi:We are glad to know NeoContrast™ eyewear is useful for you. We welcome you to share us more should you find other benefits or interesting points of NeoContrast™ eyewear. Thank you for your valuable sharing.

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