A new treatment now offers hope for treatment of Ambylopia or lazy eye as it is commonly called. It has been developed due to the combined efforts of researchers at the USC and three other Chinese universities.
A lazy eye in children can appear normal, although there may a compromise in the vision even when corrective glasses are used. If untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss. Until now, the condition has been regarded to be incurable in children over 8 years.
The new study however promises a restoration of vision by as much as 70% in individuals above 19 years of age. The average one-year retention rate was 90 percent. The study participants were trained to detect a small 'g Lazy Eye Can Be Effectively Treated By New Approach', a set of three contrasting dark and light ovals that is regarded to be important for visual perception.
Following training, the seven subjects had an overall improvement in their visual acuity from 25 to 216 percent. Another 10 subjects in a slightly different training program showed an average improvement of 46 percent. No improvement was seen in 8 subjects.
"Detecting simple visual patterns turned out to be quite useful for improving visual acuity for amblyopia patients, typically measured by eye chart reading. You train on one of these gabors, you can generalize this to a whole bunch of different gabors, and also generalize this to an eye chart. That makes the training useful, " said co-author Zhong-Lin Lu.
Persons with normal vision however failed to respond to the treatment probably due to the fact that a little stimulus goes a long way toward awakening the amblyopic eye.
The researchers further intend to test their approach on patients in Chins. If successful, it would revolutionize the treatment of lazy eye. It has been planned to develop a home training program.