Goodbye to Lazy Eye: Pediatric Vision Scanner
Reported October 5, 2011
BOSTON, MA (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It could be blinding your child years before you realize it. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, happens when the brain ignores one eye, causing its vision to fade away. Its the most common cause of vision problems in children, and only about one in three kids show physical symptoms. Now, a doctors invention is helping catch it in just seconds and well before the norm.
Im good at freestyle and breast strokes, Ashton Slowe told Ivanhoe.
Ashton Slowe swims competitively and likes baseball. While he sees himself becoming a professional athlete someday, he cant see much out of one eye.
The right eye is much weaker than the left eye, Ashton said.
Ashtons dad says the eight-year-old was diagnosed with amblyopia, or lazy eye, when he was five.
I would have loved to have had it at a much earlier age, Joseph Slowe, Ashtons father, said.
Doctor David hunters working on that. The ophthalmologist demonstrates the pediatric vision scanner on Ashton. In just two and a half seconds, the device he co-invented can catch vision loss or misaligned eyes in kids as young as two.
Catching it early is essential in order to treat it fully and easily, David G. Hunter, M.D., Ph.D., an ophthalmologist-in-chief at Childrens Hospital Boston and professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, explained.
But its hard to diagnose lazy eye before a child can read an eye chart.
And its so frustrating because we know that if just gotten to them three or four years earlier, then we would have been able to fully treat it, Dr. Hunter said.
Thats what the scanners blinking smiley face is helping do. Two green lights mean both eyes are fine. One or two red lights mean theres a problem. The prototype was tested on more than 200 kids.
It worked better than 96-percent of the time. Doctor Hunter would like to see it become a part of every childs annual check-up.
Look at their height, their weight, their temperature, their blood pressure and their eye scan, Dr. Hunter said.
While the vision scanner couldnt help Ashton, his father hopes it will help other kids. Meanwhile, treatment is helping restore this multi-sports stars sight.
And its not holding him back at all, Joseph Slowe said.
Doctor Hunters been working on the pediatric vision scanner for 20 years. Its still in trials now, and work is being done to make it lighter and wireless, but hunter believes it could be in your pediatricians office sometime in 20-12. If caught in time, lazy eye can usually be corrected with an eye patch or eye drops.