Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

“Lazy eye” disorder – a promising new therapeutic approach

23.04.2013
A research team led by Dr. Robert Hess from McGill University and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has used the popular puzzle video game Tetris in an innovative approach to treat adult amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye”.

By distributing information between the two eyes in a complementary fashion, the video game trains both eyes to work together, which is counter to previous treatments for the disorder (e.g. patching).

This medical breakthrough provides direct evidence that alleviating suppression of the weaker eye, by forcing both eyes to cooperate, increases the level of plasticity in the brain and allows the amblyopic brain to relearn. The research is published in the prestigious journal Current Biology.

Amblyopia is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood, affecting up to 3 per cent of the population. It is caused by poor processing in the brain, which results in suppression of the weaker eye by the stronger eye. Previous treatments for the disorder, which have focused largely on covering the stronger eye in order to force the weaker eye to work, have proven only partially successful in children and have been ineffective in adults.

“The key to improving vision for adults, who currently have no other treatment options, was to set up conditions that would enable the two eyes to cooperate for the first time in a given task,” says Dr. Robert Hess, senior author of the paper and Director of Research Department of Ophthalmology at the RI-MUHC and at McGill University.

According to Dr. Hess and his colleagues, the adult human brain has a significant degree of plasticity and this provides the basis for treating a range of conditions where vision has been lost as a result of a disrupted period of early visual development in childhood. The researchers examined the potential of treating amblyopic adults using the video game Tetris, which involves connecting different shaped blocks as they fall to the ground.

“Using head-mounted video goggles we were able to display the game dichoptically, where one eye was allowed to see only the falling objects, and the other eye was allowed to see only the ground plane objects,” explains Dr. Hess, who also serves as director of McGill Vision Research. “Forcing the eyes to work together, we believed, would improve vision in the lazy eye.”

The researchers tested a sample of 18 adults with amblyopia. Nine participants played the game monocularly with the weaker eye, while the stronger eye was patched; the other nine played the same game dichoptically, where each eye was allowed to view a separate part of the game. After two weeks, the group playing the dichoptic game showed a dramatic improvement in the vision of the weaker eye as well as in 3-D depth perception. When the monocular patching group, who had showed only a moderate improvement, was switched to the new dichoptic training, the vision of this group also improved dramatically.

The suitability of this treatment in children will be assessed later this year in a clinical trial across North America.

About this study:

This work was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

This Correspondence was co-authored by Jinrong Li, Daming Deng and Minbin Yu (State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Centre, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China); Benjamin Thompson (Department of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand); Lily Y.L. Chan (School of Optometry, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China); and Robert F. Hess (Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University and RI-MUHC, Montreal, Canada).

The Correspondence is now available at the following link: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(13)00094-8

Useful links

Current Biology:cell.com/current-biology
McGill University Health Centre (MUHC): muhc.ca
Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC): muhc.ca/research
McGill University: mcgill.ca
Contact:
Julie Robert
Public Affairs and Strategic Planning
McGill University Health Centre
514 934 1934 ext. 71381
julie.robert@muhc.mcgill.ca
muhc.ca | facebook.com/cusm.muhc

Julie Robert | McGill University Health Centre
Further information:
http://www.muhc.ca
http://www.muhc.mcgill.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>