Video Game May Fix Lazy Eye in Older Children
Reported October 25, 2011
(Ivanhoe Newswire) A novel study found that correction of amblyopia, also called lazy eye, can be achieved in older children if they stick to the regimen of playing video games and standard amblyopia treatment.
By the end of the one year study, nearly 30 percent of the 100 participants achieved significant vision gains. About 60 percent showed at least some improvement. Significant gains were more likely in children who participated in Groups 3 or 4 of the four treatment regimens. Treatment Group 3 completed daily video game practice and Group 4 took the supplement citicoline, which is associated with improved brain function. Improvement was more likely in children younger than age 14 than in those 14 and older.
The previous thought was that if amblyopia is not diagnosed and corrected before a child reaches school age, it is difficult or impossible to correct. But recently the United States-based Pediatric Eye Disease Investigation Group (PEDIG) reported significant vision gains in 27 percent of older children in a study funded by the National Eye Institute.
Dr. Somen Ghoshs study was divided into four treatment groups. Students in all groups followed a basic treatment plan that required them to wear eyeglasses that blocked the stronger eye for at least two hours a day, during which time they practiced exercises using the weaker eye. This “patching” technique is a standard amblyopia treatment that works by making the weaker eye work harder.
Group one followed only the basic plan and served as the control group, while groups two, three and four received additional treatments:
Group 2 took a supplement that contained micronutrients considered important to good vision
Group 3 played at least one hour of video games daily using only the weaker eye
Group 4 took the supplement citicoline, which is associated with improved brain function
Saurav Sen, a 16 year old graduate of Dr. Ghosh’s clinic, received a second chance to achieve good vision. At age 13 Sen began to experience serious vision problems, which negatively impacted his school work. Other doctors had told him it was too late to correct his amblyopia. He completed the regimen assigned to treatment Group 3.
“Playing the shooting games while using just my weaker eye was hard at first, but after a few months I could win all game levels easily,” Sen was quoted as saying. “I’m very happy that I stuck with the program. My vision has improved a lot, so that I now have no trouble studying or taking exams. My tennis game also improved, and of course I’m now a pro PC gamer.”
“The cooperation of the patient is very important, maybe even crucial, to successful treatment of amblyopia,” Dr. Ghosh was quoted as saying. “We should never give up on our patients, even the older children, but instead offer them hope and treatment designed to help them achieve better vision.”
SOURCE: 115th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology held in Orlando, Fl from Oct 22-25, 2011