iPad vs iPatch: Amblyopia in children


Wow this is absolutely amazing! What a way to utilise modern technology to update treatment methods for amblyopia. Amblyopia is also known as lazy eye. When I saw the title 'iPad beats iPatch' on Optometry Today, I was really intrigued. iPad games as part of a patient management? Sounds a controversial statement to the usual opinion of children playing games right? 

This amazing study undertaken by American researchers introduced the use of behavioural therapy as treatment. The study took a total of 28 children, 14 control with the current patching method of correction and trialled them against 14 children playing the iPad app.

The game Dig Rush shows high-contrast (easier to see) red elements the miners and fireball, which are seen by the amblyopic eye. Whilst the low-contrast (more difficult to see) blue elements the gold and cart, to be seen by the fellow eye. The rocks and ground are in grey which are seen by both eyes. In order for successful play, both eyes must see the game. It's a really innovative way to push the amblyopic eye into action and reduce the suppression. When the directions of what we see in each eye aren't matching up, the image from the amblyopic eye is ignored by the brain. So having easier images for the turned eye encourages it use.

Developed in collaboration with Robert Hess, PhD, DSc at McGill University and Amblyotech and UbiSoft. The game shows real potential with positive results from the 14 trialled children. More successful than the current treatment. Although it's still in research stages it shows real promise for future incorporation! You can read the full report here.

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