Categories: Technology

This iPad Game Can Treat Kids With A Lazy Eye

Just call it an eye-pad.

A special type of iPad game was more effective at treating children with a lazy eye than traditional patching treatments, JAMA Ophthalmology reported Thursday.

Three to four percent of American kids develop amblyopia, or a lazy eye, where one eye may be misaligned with or have weaker vision than the other. This causes poor depth perception, and can result in permanent vision loss.

Doctors often treat this by putting a patch over the opposite, stronger eye in order to force the brain to use the weaker one. But this common fix does not always restore 20/20 vision or teach the two eyes to work together.

So doctors at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Dallas, tried using an iPad game to get the lazy eye to work harder. It used special glasses that separated the gaming elements seen by each eye, so both had to work together in order for the kids to play well.

The kids who tried this binocular game treatment over two weeks saw their eyes improve more than twice as much as the control group of kids given the patch. And they improved in less than half the time — just 10 hours over two weeks for the gamers, versus 28 hours over two weeks for those with the patch.

The binocular game worked so well, in fact, that once the kids in the patch group were switched over to the iPad game, their eyes improved just as quickly as the kids who had been playing the game the entire time. By the end of the four-week study, there was no difference in vision improvement between the two groups of kids.

“Binocular treatment may yield faster gains than patching,” the study authors wrote. “Whether long-term binocular treatment is as effective in remediating amblyopia as patching remains to be investigated.”

Kids Safety Team

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