Posted March 28, 2017
Lazy eye is the most common cause of kids’ vision problems, affecting about 3 percent of American children. Also known as amblyopia, lazy eye typically develops between birth and age 8. Usually, one eye is more nearsighted or looks to the side. Rarely does the condition develop in both eyes.
Diagnosing and treating lazy eye in an early stage, during the development of eye and brain coordination, is best for correcting this vision problem. Traditionally, kids wore an eye patch over the eye with good vision to force use of the lazy eye. However, researchers have identified three new ways to repair lazy eye vision problems:
1. Digital patch – Today kids can wear digital eyeglasses. The lenses are designed with a liquid crystal display that can be set to make one lens cloudy (acting like a patch) at different times during the day. This allows the lazy eye to become the main vision source. Kids’ vision improves at the same rate with both the adhesive and digital patch, but, of course, most kids like the digital patch better. Ask anyone who had to endure a conventional patch and the sticky tape, and they’ll tell you it was very unpleasant.
2. Electronic game – In Texas, researchers at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest studied the use of gaming for kids with a lazy eye. While playing an adventure game, kids wore special glasses that made each eye able to view different things. After playing the game an hour a day for five days over two weeks, the results showed that improvements in the lazy eye were twice that of a traditional eye patch. With the evolution of video gaming eyewear and virtual reality headsets, a child might even jump at the chance to try this new treatment.
3. Reduced eye movement – At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University, researchers who study animals with lazy eye discovered a new treatment idea. They found that a temporary disruption in retina movement by numbing the stronger eye caused the eyes to reset to normal vision. Follow-up tests showed the correction was permanent. This idea was borne from a study using total darkness for 10 days, which also worked. However, using this treatment in humans could prove difficult considering the length of time it takes.
Medical News Today