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Does watching movies help children with lazy eye?

A new study published in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus sheds light on a potential new therapy to treat amblyopia, otherwise known as "lazy eye". Children affected by amblyopia have a harder time in school due to issues with reading a blackboard, finishing schoolwork or even taking part in physical education. Researchers presented children ages 4-8 with different images to each eye in order to train both eyes at the same time. The study took place over two weeks with each child being shown three popular animated movies each week.¬† Both eyes were partially blocked with irregular shapes so that each eye saw different parts of the television screen. Because the eyes were forced to "fill in the blanks" they were strengthened and trained to work together. At the end of the study, the children read eye charts to measure how many lines they could read and the improvement was dramatic. Visual acuity was improved by one to four lines with just six sessions of this therapy, known as "dichoptic movie viewing." The success with this study along with a similar study in a clinical trial last year makes researchers hopeful that dichoptic feature films could be a useful as a potential therapy for treating amblyopia.   Source: Birch EE. Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. 2015.*

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