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Surgeon David Allamby FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth
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Could an iPad game cure lazy eye in children?

Learn more about vision correction

08
Dec
2016

We all know that too much iPad use is leading to a number of health issues that could potentially affect our children’s vision - however it’s not all bad news, as research has found an iPad game that can cure lazy eye in children.

Lazy eye, also known as Amblyopia, is a condition where the vision in an eye is poor because it’s not used enough in early childhood and therefore doesn’t develop well. Amblyopia is believed to affect around one in 40 children in the UK and is usually diagnosed at around four years old.

Usually sufferers of amblyopia are given an eyepatch to cover the stronger eye in an attempt to boost connections between the brain and the weaker one - however children with a lazy eye could soon be treated by using a video game, scientists claim.

Many kids with amblyopia report having trouble with schoolwork or participating in gym class. Not only that, it can often leave them feeling depressed, frustrated and embarrassed.

girl with eye patch

Dr David Allamby, founder of Focus Clinic, says accessible games could help to remove the 'stigma' from children who suffer with lazy eye. He said: 'The science behind eye patching is very simple, and it’s a technique that has been used for around 200 years. But it has major flaws. And in reality, it’s not as easy as it first appears. Firstly, more than half of children simply refuse to comply with the treatment.

'Being forced to see the world through your weaker eye can be an incredibly frustrating experience, particularly for a youngster. Meanwhile having to wear an eyepatch at school can lead to stigma. Other children often stare at, or tease, a child wearing a patch which can make the sufferer more withdrawn and even depressed because their self-esteem takes a knock.”

'So if lazy eye can be treated without a patch, and through playing a simple iPad - or iPatch - game instead, then that’s encouraging news indeed.'

child playing on ipad

Experts have developed the tablet video game which can encourage children to work their weaker eye harder. The game sees users having to return pieces of gold to a cart as quickly as possible while minding for obstructions, and were given special glasses to wear while playing, with the stronger eye being able to see some elements and the weaker being shown other elements in higher contrast.

There are a number of tell-tale signs that warn a parent their child may have a lazy eye.

Having a squint could show one eye is stronger than the other, while a clouding of the eye's natural lens could also signal the condition. Dr Allamby advises that children have their eyes tested by a professional when they're around three-and-a-half years old.

You can read the full story in the Mail Online.

By: David
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