A video game may be an effective adjunct treatment for amblyopia in children
The action video game approach may be used as an effective adjunct treatment for amblyopia in children with results similar to those of the gold-standard treatment in shorter duration, suggests a feasibility study published in the journal Vision Research.
Dennis M. Levi, University of California, Berkeley, California, U.S., and colleagues pilot-tested a custom-made action video game to treat children with amblyopia.
Apart from refractive error, amblyopia is the most common cause of visual loss in infants and young children. The gold-standard treatment for childhood amblyopia remains patching or penalizing the fellow eye, resulting in an average of about one line (0.1 logMAR) improvement in visual acuity following ≈120 h of patching in children 3–8 years old. However, patching and other treatment options have a poor compliance. In contrast, fast-paced action video games can be highly engaging and have been shown to yield broad-based improvements in vision and attention in adult amblyopia.
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Of the 21 children with unilateral amblyopia who completed 20 hours of training with video game intervention, 12 children were anisometropic and 9 were strabismic.
Participants were assessed for visual acuity (VA), stereo acuity and reading speed at baseline, and following 10 and 20 h of play.
- Children with amblyopia showed improvements in visual acuity, stereoacuity, and reading speeds.
- Children who were anisometropic had greater improvements in stereoacuity than those who were strabismic.
- Maximum improvements in visual acuity were seen after 10 hours of training in anisometropic amblyopes, while strabismic amblyopes showed steady improvement over 20 hours of training.
- Reading speed continued to improve over 20 hours of training in the anisometropic amblyope group, while improvement in reading speed stabilized after 10 hours in the strabismic group.
- Across both treatment groups, 7 of the 12 individuals with anisometropic amblyopia showed improvement in stereoacuity, whereas only 1 of the 9 strabismic individuals improved.
"Our feasibility study, therefore, suggests that the action video game approach may be used as an effective adjunct treatment for amblyopia in children, achieving results similar to those of the gold-standard treatment in shorter duration," concluded the authors.
For more information log on to https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2018.04.005