Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lazy eye treatment times could be drastically reduced

10.12.2008
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 adult brain — the ability of a neural system to change with experience.

The work is being carried out by Andrew Astle, a PhD student at the University.

“The results so far show a drastic improvement on patching, and disprove the long-held belief that adults cannot be treated for this type of condition,” Andrew said. “However, the study is not complete and we’re still looking for subjects to take part in the tests.”

Work set to start in spring 2009 at the University will build on Andrew’s results, examining amblyopia in children and examining the functional and structural organisation of the visual cortex. This EU-wide study has been funded by a European Consortium FP7 grant to the tune of 2.6m Euro. Professor Paul McGraw and Dr Ben Webb in the Visual Neuroscience Group will look at the effects and treatment of amblyopia in children. Other European institutions, including the University of Florence, the Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience and University College London, will examine the condition from the molecular level to its behavioural impact on animal models.

It is thought that results from this study could be translated to other conditions where recovery is limited due to restricted neural plasticity — including brain tumours, stroke, degenerative diseases and trauma.

Professor McGraw said “Andrew’s results suggest that the adult amblyopic visual system retains a great deal more neural plasticity than previously thought. Harnessing this plasticity offers a new way of treating this common condition and opens the door to developing novel pharmacological and behavioural interventions for a range of neurological deficits.”

To take part in the Study of Perceptual Learning Effects in Amblyopia, contact Andrew Astle at lpxaa1@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk
http://communications.nottingham.ac.uk/News/Article/Lazy-eye-treatment-times-could-be-drastically-reduced-new-research-shows.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The FiTS app now offering cooking videos as it expands its concept for long-term behavior modification
18.09.2018 | vitaliberty GmbH

nachricht The microbiota in the intestines fuels tumour growth
18.09.2018 | Technische Universität München

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: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

Im Focus: Graphene enables clock rates in the terahertz range

Graphene is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the future. In theory, it should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now shown for the first time that graphene can actually convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range – which correspond to today’s clock rates – extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers present their results in the scientific journal “Nature”.

Graphene – an ultrathin material consisting of a single layer of interlinked carbon atoms – is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's first passive anti-frosting surface fights ice with ice

18.09.2018 | Materials Sciences

A novel approach of improving battery performance

18.09.2018 | Materials Sciences

Scientists use artificial neural networks to predict new stable materials

18.09.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>