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Lazy eye treatment times could be drastically reduced, new research shows
Date:12/9/2008

Treatment times for amblyopia more commonly known as 'lazy eye' could be drastically reduced thanks to research carried out at The University of Nottingham.

Amblyopia is thought to affect up to 2.5 per cent of people and accounts for around 90 per cent of all children's eye appointments in the UK. Occlusion therapy patching the normal eye for lengthy periods to 'train' the affected eye is the main treatment for amblyopia. However, this method can be distressing to children, is unpopular with parents and can adversely effect educational development. This type of therapy has been used in various forms since 1743 and has long been considered to only be effective up until late childhood.

The new treatments developed in the Visual Neuroscience Group in the University's School of Psychology have not only reduced potential treatment times by an unprecedented amount, they have also proved that it is possible to treat amblyopia in adults. Early results suggest gains, that would have required around 120 hours of occlusion therapy to achieve, can be produced after just 10 hours.

Adult test subjects have undertaken challenging visual tasks under computer-controlled conditions. Academics hope that these promising results could be used to develop a child-friendly game that could treat amblyopia. There is also the potential to use these new treatments to supplement occlusion therapy.

The 60,000 project A Study of Perceptual Learning Effects in Amblyopia has been funded by the College of Optometrists. Amblyopia is a developmental problem in the brain, not the eye. The part of the brain dealing with vision from the affected eye develops abnormally as a result of atypical visual experience early in life. This results in markedly different levels of vision in each eye which cannot be remedied with spectacles.

As well as looking at potential treatments for the condition, the study examines the level of neural plasticity in the ad
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Contact: Andrew Astle
lpxaa1@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-595-15292
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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