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Treatment Seems to Help Adults With Lazy Eye

It had been thought the condition was incurable after age 8, researchers say

THURSDAY, Dec. 29, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that young adults with lazy eye can improve their eyesight with a new treatment developed by the University of Southern California (USC) and three Chinese universities.

Previously, it was thought the condition, amblyopia, was incurable after the age of 8, the researchers said.

Children with lazy eye appear normal, but do not see properly, even with glasses. If untreated, the condition will prevent the eye from developing fully and result in loss of vision.

The new treatment involves training the patients to detect a small gabor, a set of contrasting ovals. Those who learned the technique improved their vision by an average of 70 percent. People without the condition who took the same training did not improve their eyesight.

Lazy eye can be treated with surgery if the eye is misaligned. In many cases the eye is healthy, but the brain is not receiving the proper image, explained study co-author Zhong-Lin Lu, a professor of psychology at USC, and co-director of the Dornsife Neuroscience Imaging Center there.

The treatment is not yet available in the United States, but is to be tested at a clinic in China. It may be developed as a home training program, the researchers said.

The study, published online by Vision Research, was conducted with the University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui Medical University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about lazy eye.

SOURCE: University of Southern California, news release, Dec. 20, 2005
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