Lazy eye or Amblyopia occurs mainly during infancy. If this ailment is untreated it can affect one’s vision in adulthood. Different researchers are carrying out studies to find a permanent cure for it.
What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia also known as the “lazy eye” is an ailment that occurs during infancy. In a layman’s language in this ailment the vision in one eye is reduced while the other eye remains normal. The brain prefers one eye and hence this problem. At a glance one will not be able to notice the defect because both the eyes look normal in appearance.
How does it Occur?
This ailment can occur due to any condition that prevents the eye from focusing clearly. It can be in case of nearsightedness, farsightedness. In fact if one is suffering from astigmatism (where the cornea is of abnormal shape) he might experience this ailment.
Misalignment of eyes or Strabismus as it is more popularly known can lead to amblyopia.
For example: the kid (with this ailment) will not be able to do anything that is related to eye sight in a normal way. Suppose his right eye has the proper vision while his left eye is affected. If he reads a book, he will see the alphabets better with the right eye than the left one.
If he is watching television, he will see better with the right eye than the left one.
Facts about Amblyopia:
- This ailment affects around 2-3 children’s out of every 100 thereby making it the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood.
- If left untreated in can this ailment will persist even into adulthood
How to Treat this Vision Problem?
The most common treatment for this ailment is the use of an eye patch which is placed over the stronger eye for duration of several weeks / months whereby the weaker eye is used for vision. As a result the vision-related parts of the brain force the weaker eye to stabilize the vision.
Atropine – a drug is also used to treat this condition. The eye drop blurs the vision of the stronger eye so that the weaker eye’s eyesight improves.
Any Recent Research on this Filed?
Dr. Eileen E. Birch, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, TX, and colleagues in collaboration published their findings on Amblyopia in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.
According to them, the growing trend is to treat this vision impairment issue through dichoptic therapy where different images are shown to the patient. The patient is then asked to concentrate on the images so that an outside pressure is created on both the eyes.
This therapy is followed with perceptual learning tasks or games.
But there is a drawback to this entire process. The kids get bored easily or they find the games to be too complex to concentrate. Moreover, the required assistance from the family members is also very less thereby hampering the improvement of the vision.
This led the researchers to investigate further and they came up with an amazing solution – watching popular animated movies!
9 Hours of Dichoptic Movie Viewing:
The researchers enrolled 8 children within the age group of 4 to 10 years and made them watch 3 dichoptic movies per week for 2 weeks. The movies were shown on 3D screen where the children were made to wear 3D cinema glasses.
In the movie, each eye was exposed to blobs of abnormal shapes that veiled different parts of the screen. The blobs acted as an inversion to the other eye.
As a result the entire experience was very similar to binocular vision. This ensured that signals from both eyes reached the brain.
Note: the images shown to the affected eye were of high contrast while the other images were of low contrast. This helped to achieve the binocular vision whereby the ailment was overcome.
At the end of 2 weeks, the researchers noticed a visible improvement in the children.
But further research is still pending. Although the initials results are quite good but it is yet to be seen whether the ailment can be rectified through dichoptic movie viewing!
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