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Amblyopia or Lazy Eye can be treated by watching movies

Posted in 'General' on October 21, 2015 by Stuart Macfarlane
Though there are several types of amblyopia, the end result is a reduced vision. Glasses may improve visual acuity to some extent, but usually not completely.

However, now researchers have discovered that there could be a treatment as simple as just watching movies!
Researchers reached to this conclusion after they found increasing research investigating the use of dichoptic therapy as a treatment for amblyopia that involves presenting different images to each eye individually. Dichoptic therapy is usually combined with perceptual learning task or game. While the research conducted so far has shown such therapy to be effective for improving vision in children with amblyopia, researchers of this study noted that children often become bored of these tasks or find them too complicated, and home-based compliance to the treatment is low. Therefore, they investigated the efficacy of something that would have more fun and be an engaging approach - something like watching popular animated movies.

They conducted a small study in which they enrolled 8 children with amblyopia between the ages of 4-10 years; and made them watch three dichoptic movies each week for 2 weeks on a passive 3D screen while wearing 3D cinema glasses. The images shown to the amblyopic eye were high contrast, while those shown to the stronger eye were low contrast that helped to prevent suppression of the amblyopic eye and allow binocular vision.

By the end of the 2-week period, all children showed a significant improvement in visual activity. "Children achieved one to four lines of improvement in visual acuity with just six sessions (9 hours) of dichoptic movie viewing over 2 weeks," comments the researcher.

Easy and simple non-medical treatment that deserves further study...

Weight gain is related to light exposure.

Posted in 'General' on October 28, 2015 by Stuart Macfarlane
Recent research conducted at Brisbane's own QUT has found that pre-schoolers exposed to more light earlier in the day tend to weigh more. Cassandra Pattinson, a PhD student and her colleagues (part of the Sleep in Early Childhood Research Group) studied 48 children aged three to five from six Brisbane childcare centres over a two week period, They found moderate intensity light exposure earlier in the day was associated with increased body mass index (BMI) whereas children who received their biggest dose of light in the afternoon had lower body mass index and were slimmer.
Interestingly physical activity was not associated with the body mass of the children but timing of sleep and light exposure was. This is the first time light has been shown to contribute to weight in children. With an estimated 42 million children around the globe under the age of five being classified as overweight or obese, this is a significant breakthrough. Modern advances in technology such as tablets, mobile phones, night lights, and television mean that our children are exposed to more environmental light than any previous generation and this has paralleled global increases in obesity. Clearly and as highlighted by QUT's  Sleep in Early Childhood Research Group, exposure of our children to different types of light at different times now needs to be part of the conversation when dealing with weight issues. 

Glaucoma and pillows - a novel treatment

Posted in 'General' on October 31, 2015 by Stuart Macfarlane

The most effective way of treating glaucoma is by reducing the intraocular pressure. This is generally done with the help of eye drops or surgery. Recent studies have found that elevating the head 20 degrees with the aid of a wedge shaped pillow will reduce the intraocular pressure during sleeping hours. By reducing the pressure inside the eye this should help control glaucoma. Compared to sleeping on a flat bed on their back, sleeping with the head raised gave a 9.3 percent reduction in intraocular pressure in the glaucoma group. So if you suffer from sub-optimally controlled glaucoma it might be worthwhile investing in a wedge shaped pillow.