Amblyopia is a disorder that can be very effectively treated in children, especially if it is discovered early in its course. It is generally accepted that amblyopia treatment is most effective up to around 8-10y of age and decreases dramatically beyond then. Whilst newer studies show that the improvement of visual function in older children and in adults are indeed possible, the treatment is nowhere near as effective as in younger children.
Promising new amblyopia research
That said there has been many interesting research published in the last decade that included animal models of amblyopia and showed that in theory, amblyopia could be cured even in adult experimental animals. One of the most recent is a report from University of California, Irvine which suggests that low doses of ketamine, a powerful anesthetic, lead to synaptic changes in visual cortex – a part of brain responsible for vision – and restore vision in previously amblyopic adult experimental animals.
For the time being, this of course sounds very much like a science fiction for human use, but the important thing is that the scientific community is eager to uncover new strategies to treat or perhaps even cure amblyopia. Only time will tell whether such treatments will one day become a part of routine medical practice in adults suffering from amblyopia.
It is not all about COVID-19
The important message is that despite the challenging times we are facing, when everything is just about, as someone once said, “COVID, COVID, COVID”, the researchers are still passionate about their work and still do what they are best at – amblyopia research included.