Tuesday January 28, 2020

Children’s Love of Video Games likely to Help Treat Vision Problems, especially Amblyopia

Amblyopia is usually treatable, but if left untreated it can affect a child's reading and fine motor skills, which can negatively impact academic success and self-esteem

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FILE - A girl's eyes are examined March 8, 2012. VOA

Nov 18, 2016: Amblyopia is a Greek word that means “blunt vision.” It’s often called “lazy eye,” and is one of the most common vision problems in children.

Amblyopia is usually treatable, but if left untreated it can affect a child’s reading and fine motor skills, which can negatively impact academic success and self-esteem. Untreated amblyopia can also lead to blindness.

[bctt tweet=”Amblyopia not only has deficits in vision, but it causes deficits in 3-D-depth perception, reading and fine motor skills.” username=””]

With amblyopia, one eye sends stronger electrical signals to the brain than the other one does. If untreated, the pathways the weaker eye uses to send signals can weaken further or fail to develop.

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Doctors commonly treat the condition with a patch over the strong eye to force the weak eye to take over and develop the pathways to the brain. But this treatment may not make the eyes work together. A child may end up using one eye for distance vision and the other for seeing close up.

Researchers at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest in Dallas, Texas, wanted to see if they could improve on the standard treatment given to children with this condition.

“Amblyopia not only has deficits in vision, but it causes deficits in 3-D-depth perception, reading and fine motor skills,” said Dr. Krista Kelly, who led the study.

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These deficits can last through adulthood. Without three-dimensional vision, a person’s ability to drive a car, read textbooks and generally see the world can remain impaired.

Game on iPad

Researchers gave children with amblyopia an iPad and a pair of glasses, and had them play a specially developed video game. The children ranged in age from 4 to 10 years old. The researchers also supplied glasses that changed the way the children saw things. The kids had to work the weaker eye harder in order to play the game, which also forced the children to work both eyes together.

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Children with amblyopia in another group were given only eye patches. After two weeks, Kelly said, both groups were evaluated.

Kelly said the improvement between the two groups was pronounced. “We found that at the two-week visit, children who had the iPad game improved much more than children who patched.”

The children who played the iPad games had improved so much that the researchers gave the iPad and the game to both groups of children. After two more weeks, with both children playing the game, those who had started out in the eye patch group had caught up to the other group.

Kelly now wants to add new games, or even videos, and have the children play the games or watch the videos for more than four weeks. (VOA)

The study appeared in JAMA Opthalmology.

Next Story

71% Parents Feel That Video Games May Have Positive Impact on Kids

71% parents believe video games good for teens

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Video Games
86 per cent of parents agree that teeagers spend too much time on video games. Pixabay

Seventy-one per cent of parents believe that video games may have a positive and healthy impact on their kids’ lifestyle, while 44 per cent try to restrict video game content, says a new study.

According to the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health in US, 86 per cent of parents agree that teeagersspend too much time gaming. Parents also reported very different gaming patterns for teenage boys than girls.

Twice as many parents said that their teen boy plays video games every day compared to parents of teen girls. Teen boys are also more likely to spend three or more hours gaming.

“Although many parents believe video games can be good for teens, they also report a number of negative impacts of prolonged gaming,” said poll co-director Gary Freed from University of Michigan.

Video Games
Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games. Pixabay

“Parents should take a close look at their teen’s gaming behaviour and set reasonable limits to reduce harmful impacts on sleep, family and peer relationships and school performance,” Freed added.

Overall, parents surveyed said that gaming often gets in the way of other aspects of their teen’s life, such as family activities and interactions (46 per cent), sleep (44 per cent), homework (34 per cent), friendship with non-gaming peers (33 per cent) and extracurricular activities (31 per cent).

Parents of teens ages 13-15 (compared to those with older teens) are more likely to use rating systems to try to make sure games are appropriate (43 per cent versus 18 per cent), encourage their teen to play with friends in person rather than online and to ban gaming in their teen’s bedroom.

Parents polled also use different strategies to limit the amount of time their teen spends gaming, including encouraging other activities (75 per cent), setting time limits (54 per cent), providing incentives to limit gaming (23 per cent) and hiding gaming equipment (14 percent).

The researchers noted that while gaming may be a fun activity in moderation, some teens -such as those with attention issues — are especially susceptible to the constant positive feedback and the stimulus of video games.

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This may lead to prolonged play that is disruptive to other elements of a teen’s life, the researchers added.

“Parents can play an important role by setting clear rules about appropriate content and how much time is too much time spent on video games,” Freed said. (IANS)