Recently, the journal JAMA Ophthalmology broke the story on the Retina Foundation’s new innovative treatment for children with lazy eye (amblyopia). News outlets such as CBS News and ABC News have recognized our research on broadcast television and website feature articles. The story has even reached India and Australia.
The scientists in the Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Laboratory are extremely humbled by the recent media attention and want to help with the influx of questions that resulted. Whether you are an ophthalmologist seeking more information or a parent who believes the iPad game treatment might be right for your child, we have provided answers to frequently asked questions for you below.
Q: Can I download the game for my child to start playing?
A: Not yet. Further studies are being done to determine if the long term results with iPad games are as good as results with the standard treatment of patching.
Q: There are similar games available on the internet that I can download. Can’t I just have my child play one of those?
A: We think there are two important features of our game design that make it effective in treating amblyopia: 1) re-balancing of contrast to allow the eyes to work together and 2) separating elements of the game for each eye so that the child must use information from both eyes to play the game. Some games available on the internet suggest that they are similar to ours, but they simply present the same pictures to both eyes, with or without low contrast for the fellow eye, and no separation of elements. We suspect that these games will not be effective and we worry that, if the child has crossed eyes and/or misaligned eyes (strabismus), these games could cause double vision to develop.
Q: Will there be follow up studies?
A: Yes. We are now recruiting amblyopic children ages 4 to 10 years who have had no treatment yet for their amblyopia (other than glasses). All study participants must be referred by their pediatric ophthalmologist. Please contact the Pediatric Vision Laboratory at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 363-3911, ext. 113 for more information.
Q: How can I find out whether my child is eligible to participate in a research study at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest so that they can receive treatment with the iPad game?
A: All patients must have a referral from their pediatric ophthalmologist in order to be seen at the Retina Foundation and considered for this study. An appointment will be scheduled at the Pediatric Vision Laboratory to conduct testing that will determine whether or not your child is eligible.
Q: How can I support this study?
A: Tax-deductible donations can be made securely through our website at www.retinafoundation.org/donate.