Family physician unveils breakthrough glasses for treating lazy eye
Instead of eye patches and drops, this new invention is being embraced by kids.
As the father of a child struggling with lazy eye (medically known as amblyopia), I can tell you that the options for correction and/or treatment aren't ideal. The condition, caused by the brain failing to use both eyes together, can be remedied with eye drops, an eye patch or corrective lenses. While the medical goal is to balance the strength of both eyes, the inconvenience faced by the child in pursuing this is often quite frustrating. Believe me when I say it's no easy task to get a 2-year-old to wear an eye patch or willingly receive eye drops.
Fortunately, thanks to the determination of one Israeli family physician and advancements in ocular technology, parents have a new, less-invasive option for helping their kids beat amblyopia. Called the Amblyz, these high-tech glasses are the culmination of more than 12 years of research and development by Dr. Omry Ben-Ezra. Similar to the lightweight 3D glasses you may have worn at the movies recently, the Amblyz feature a built-in programmable shutter that works like a digital eye patch to correct lazy eye. Parents can easily charge the device overnight as they would a smartphone or tablet.
At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Las Vegas last weekend, researchers from the Glick Eye Institute at Indiana University revealed the promising results from a clinical study on the effectiveness of the Amblyz. The study, which involved 33 children with amblyopia between ages 3 and 8, found that those who wore the glasses had the same improvement in vision as those who wore an eye patch.
"When you talk to adults who underwent childhood treatment for amblyopia, they will tell you that wearing a patch was the worst thing ever," said study author Dr. Daniel Neely, a pediatric ophthalmology professor at Indiana University. "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."
This most recent study confirms earlier findings from three leading medical centers in Israel: Hadassah University Hospital, Sheba Medical Center and Meir Medical Center. In all cases, not only did vision improve over the course of the study, but ease of use and acceptance by children and parents was found to be preferred to traditional treatments.
In addition to other countries worldwide, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Amblyz glasses as a medical device. Parents like myself looking for a less frustrating way to treat lazy eye now have a new option.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:
Related Topics: Science