We earlier reported that video games could improve the vision of adults with amblyopia. Now a new study in a population consisting of children aged 10 to 18 has found that the combination of video games and standard amblyopia treatment has a better effect on vision improvement than standard amblyopia treatment alone (i.e. blocking the stronger eye for a few hours a day with a patch).
It has always been generally accepted that if amblyopia is not diagnosed and corrected before children are about 8 years old, there is no practical treatment to improve the vision of the lazy eye later in life. But it turns out that improvements can be made after kids have reached the school starting age. And why wouldn’t we treat kids with a treatment we know they will love?!
Dr. Somen Ghosh reported about the findings of his team’s one year study at the 115th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In this study standard amblyopia treatment was compared with three other groups: one group received a supplement containing micronutrients, one group played an hour of video games daily using the weaker eye and one group received a supplement called citicoline. Significant improvements compared to the standard treatment were found in the group playing video games and the one receiving the citicoline supplement.
As we all know, kids love to play video games. And another fact is that a better treatment result is reached with compliant patients. So, these latest study results combined with the two facts above could strengthen the belief that we can effectively treat amblyopia in middle-aged children.
Some details from the study abstract:
Purpose: To know the efficacy of treatment for amblyopia in an older age group. Methods: 100 patients were selected of an age group from 10 -18 years and divided into 4 groups: Group I: general protocol (GP), occlusion, orthoptic exercises; Group II: GP + antioxidant tablets; Group III: GP + stimulating video games (shooting games, car racing 2 hours/day); and Group IV: GP + Tab Citicoline 500 mg b.i.d. for 3 months, then tapering dose. Minimum follow-up period was 2 years. Results: Visual acuity improvement of Group I (52%) and II (56%) were similar; Group III (64%) and IV (72%) showed better result. The improvement decreased with increasing age. Conclusion: With a proper management plan for amblyopia; improvement in visual acuity and binocular function for patients in an older age group can be achieved.
Poster (earlier version used at All Indian Ophthalmological Conference Ahmedabad 2011): Amblyopia Management in Older Age Group: A Ray of Hope
American Academy of Ophthalmology press release: Video Games Used in New Treatment that May Fix “Lazy Eye” in Older Children …
Image credit: Taylor McBride