‘Lazy’ eye or amblyopia as it is medically known as happens when the eye can’t focus, usually due to it being misaligned.
While it is common practice to try to treat the issue by getting sufferers wear a patch over their 'strong' eye to help their 'weak' eye, a new study has shown that there might be another way – a simple mobile phone game app.
According to Eileen Birch, senior author of a study which was published in JAMA Ophthalmology
, while the patch treatment does work “there’s been some research lately (suggesting) that’s not really the right approach”.
The study involved children being treated for amblyopia using an experimental game on an iPad. The game required children to wear glasses with different coloured lenses and try to stack falling blocks.
The results showed that after a few weeks, those who had taken part in the research had improved vision which lasted for a year. The results showed that those who wore a patch and those who played the game both saw improvement in vision with the benefits lasting the same length of time.
Talking about the findings, Birch said: “The kids who had no patching afterwards did just as well as the kids who tried the maintenance patching,”
While the app is not currently available, there is a new trail underway to see how effective it is in a larger group of kids.