With the advancement of computer capabilities we have witnessed in the last two decades, there has also been a considerable improvement of vision training that is available on the market. Arguably, vision training solutions are getting better and better, but can they already represent a viable alternative to the more conventional amblyopia treatment options, some of which we have known for many decades or even centuries?
Patching still represents the treatment of choice for amblyopic children
Occlusion or patching remains the gold standard for amblyopia treatment in children. It is designed to treat amblyopia itself, and not the underlying cause, such as anisometropia and strabismus. Therefore, corrective glasses are sometimes just as important as patching in the whole process of amblyopia treatment. Click here to find out more about whether amblyopia itself or the underlying cause that lead to amblyopia development should be addressed first.
Patching is a very effective treatment for amblyopia that encourages the kids to use the amblyopic eye while the sound eye is being occluded. Where the patching does not stack up all that well is the adherence, primarily because children often find it boring and annoying.
Vision training boosts stereovision
Vision training solutions such as AmblyoPlay stimulate the amblyopic eye in a similar fashion to patching. They can be used monocularly with the sound eye occluded or binocularly in the form of binocular dichoptic vision therapy that simultaneously stimulate both eyes and also boost stereovision. Since properly designed vision training solutions are also more interesting for children than patching, adherence represents less of an issue.
Vision training AND patching
What is to be concluded then? Studies show that vision training in isolation may not be superior to patching just yet, and patching remains the treatment of choice for amblyopic children. That said, vision training has been shown to be an important additional treatment that helps to achieve the desired treatment goals faster and facilitates the recovery of stereo vision – an aspect of healthy vision which is just as important as visual acuity. Unlike patching, which is only effective in young children, vision training can also markedly improve vision in older children, as well as in adults. Hence, patching and vision therapy should not be considered in the context of rivalry but rather in the context of alliance.