Can Virtual Reality Correct Lazy Eye Syndrome (Amblyopia) in Children?

blue-eyed person

Remember how your parents always told you: “Don’t be so close to the TV screen, you will ruin your eyesight”? Though they weren’t wrong, it would be funny to see their faces now when you tell them that the solution for lazy eye syndrome (amblyopia) is putting a headset on your face and watching a TV show. 

Yes, you’ve read it correctly; the newest solution that is being developed, Luminopia One, is the first virtual reality-style treatment for the lazy eye to receive FDA approval for prescription use. It is expected to become available for general use this year, which means that having fun now comes with its advantages. 

Before we dive into the solution, let’s first debunk what amblyopia really is. 

Lazy Eye Syndrome: Explained

Amblyopia, often known as lazy eye, is a condition characterized by faulty or abnormal visual development (acuity) in one or both eyes. It is the most prevalent cause of childhood eyesight loss. Lazy eye syndrome occurs when there is a mismatch between the functioning of the eyes and a certain region of the brain that interprets visual signals.

Nerves carry information from both eyes to the brain, but if there is a significant difference in vision between the two, the brain only interprets signals from the stronger eye and rejects input from the weaker ones. Finally, the brain begins to rely more on the stronger eye, and the vision of the weaker eye deteriorates over time, resulting in lazy eye syndrome.

The exact etiology of amblyopia is unknown; however several eye conditions, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, strabismus, or cataract, may also cause it.

Although amblyopia symptoms are difficult to detect without an eye test, some of them include:

  • Poor perception of an object’s depth or distance
  • Blurry vision
  • Squinting or closing the eyes on a regular basis
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Difficulty catching and throwing items
  • Head tilting to one side

Traditional Treatment Is Not Enough

For decades, eye-patching and blurring (atropine) drops have been go-to solutions for amblyopia, with the prescription of correcting glasses aside. They function by restricting children’s use of their stronger eyes, pushing them to utilize and improve their weaker eye.

However, convincing children to wear a patch for the requisite period of time — generally several hours each day — is tough. The patches are stigmatizing and irritating for some patients. As a consequence, some ophthalmologists believe that less than half of youngsters adhere to the treatment. 

Atropine drops are an alternate therapy for amblyopia, although they are not without drawbacks. Flushing, dry tongue and fast pulse are rare adverse effects that may restrict usage in certain youngsters.

Despite these tried-and-true treatment approaches, children are frequently left with severe residual visual impairment even after therapy is completed. Technology-based therapy may provide a more appealing answer for both children and parents.

Digital Binocular Treatment

While monocular treatments, such as patching, restrict the child’s ability to use their favored eye, binocular therapy stimulates the use of the weaker eye while simultaneously encouraging patients’ brains to mix information from both eyes.

Luminopia supplies patients with a VR headgear that modifies streaming content therapeutically. The headset is worn by the children for one hour every day, six days a week. They may choose from 700+ hours of programming from prominent sources like DreamWorks, Sesame Street, and Nickelodeon for each session. The headset gives the stronger eye a blurrier image and the weaker eye a crisper image. Furthermore, the treatment renders specific areas of the movie invisible to each eye separately, promoting the use of both eyes simultaneously. A clinical trial has shown that 62 percent of kids using the treatment had a strong improvement in their vision.

With the certification, Luminopia joins a small group of firms that have received permission to provide a digital therapeutic as a prescription therapy for medical disorders. Last year, the FDA authorized EndeavorRx, a prescription video game that helps ADHD in children aged eight to twelve.

More Accessible Utilization of VR in Lazy Eye Syndrome Treatment 

Luminopia serves as a great solution for amblyopia, but carrying a full VR headset everywhere you go may be a bit challenging for families on-the-go. That’s why we decided to develop a smartphone solution that utilizes virtual reality technology with years-old methods of putting a bird in a cage and feeding the rabbit with carrots. 

These methods are closely connected to the traditional synoptophore, but are now accessible with one easy-to-use smartphone app. With numerous positive reviews, VR Synoptophore helps children and adults strengthen their eye muscles in a matter of three weeks of daily treatment.

It is an excellent alternative for people who spend a lot of time in front of computers. Exercises are available to help you relax after a hard day at work and enhance your vision in the long run. Furthermore, utilizing the app on a daily basis improves your overall health, attention, and performance while decreasing teary eyes.

Go Digital

As mentioned earlier, a lot of stigmatization comes from traditional amblyopia treatments, resulting in pirate jokes and lower confidence in children. Some families may not access their ophthalmologists easily, traditional synoptophores are usually scary to kids, and another streaming service (plus a full VR headset) may not be a sustainable option for parents with lower income. 

If you are trying to find a solution that combines accessibility and affordability while having fun, VR Synoptophore is your way to go. Download the app today, attach the VR glasses to your smartphone, and start treating early signs of lazy eye syndrome now because timely treatment is key in early childhood.