Pediatric patient wearing an eye patch on his left eye and playing a Wii game to treat lazy eye

Retina Foundation Asks Kids to ‘Just Dance’ for Research Study

July 31, 2019

The Retina Foundation is an international leader in research on lazy eye, the most common cause of visual impairment in children. A new treatment we are working on in collaboration with Mayo Clinic has the goal of improving the standard treatment of eye patching for children with lazy eye. We are enrolling children who are no longer improving with eye patching. They have reached a plateau and still have residual vision issues.

Most families would give up at this point, and the child live with poor vision for the rest of their life. We hope that adding exercise to the treatment plan will re-open the opportunity for plasticity and vision improvement. Children with residual lazy eye will still wear an eye patch over the strong eye for 2 hours each day to be sure that they lazy eye does all of the vision work. For the first 30 minutes of each eye patching session, the child will play the video game ‘Just Dance’ which has 40 age-appropriate songs for them to choose from. They will wear the eye patch for 2 hours and dance for the first 30 minutes every day for 2 weeks, with an option to continue for up to an additional 4 weeks if this treatment is effective for them.

This new treatment was inspired by the research finding that exercise is linked to brain plasticity as well as the popularity of the game ‘Just Dance’ among children 7 to 10 years old, who will be participating in the treatment study. The Retina Foundation will begin enrolling children into this new treatment study summer 2019 and conclude the study in 8 to 9 months. Both vision and reading speed of each child participating in this treatment study will be tested before and after the treatment. We anticipate that both the child’s vision and reading speed will improve upon completion of their 2 weeks of treatment.