These high-tech glasses can treat kids’ lazy eyes

By: | Published: November 15, 2015 8:20 PM

A new study has found that programmable electronic glasses can help improve vision in children just as well as the more traditional treatment using eye patches.

A new study has found that programmable electronic glasses can help improve vision in children just as well as the more traditional treatment using eye patches.

This “digital patch” is the first new effective treatment for lazy eye in half a century. Results from the first U.S. trial of this device will be presented at AAO 2015, the 119th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

A recent study found that 1 in 4 kids feel anxiety before using eye drops. Nearly 15 percent refuse to take eye drops at all. Both drops and eye patches work based on the occlusion method. This blocks vision in the eye with the best sight, forcing the brain to rely on the so-called lazy eye. During the process, vision improves though many children will still need glasses to correct their eyesight.

In comparison, the lenses of the electronic glasses used in this study can be filled to fit a child’s vision prescription. Because the lenses are liquid crystal display (LCD), they can also be programmed to turn opaque, occluding vision in the left or right eye for different time intervals, acting like a digital patch that flickers on and off.

Daniel Neely of Indiana University said that with these electronic occlusion glasses, the child learns that the lens will be clear again in just a few seconds so they may be more cooperative with the treatment. For parents who have struggled with drops and patching, this could be a great alternative.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Amblyz occlusion glasses as a medical device. They are available in the United States from eye care professionals for around 450 dollars.

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