iPads for Lazy Eyes

iStock_80130559_SMALLLazy eye, or amblyopia in medical parlance, affects a surprisingly large number of kids: about 3%! We've probably all seen a child who is being treated for the disorder, with one eye patched so the other is forced to behave in a more functional manner.  Patching has been the standard of treatment for quite some time, but outcomes aren't always quite as good as hoped for, even after prolonged periods of treatment. And even when successfully treated, recurrence is common. Enter then a study in JAMA Ophthalmology Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week: use of iPad games to treat lazy eye, with uplifting results.

Researchers identified 28 children with amblyopia, average age 6.7 years, and randomized them to either an eye patch or to use of an iPad loaded with a game that required binocular vision. They needed to play the game for an hour daily for five days each week. As Rick points out in the podcast, this game was very carefully tailored to appeal to children in this age group. After two weeks of gaming, children in the iPad group had improved more than those in the patch group.  At this point all children were offered the iPad and at four weeks, both groups had experienced the same improvement.  Rick and I both agree that such a strategy seems very attractive and seems likely to be successful at scale up.  We agree with the study authors that longer term follow-up as well as relapse treatment are important, and look forward to seeing more (no pun intended).

Other topics this week include Association Between Intensity of Statin Therapy and Mortality in Patients With Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in JAMA Cardiology, a new cardiovascular risk prediction tool: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2016/11/03/CIR.0000000000000467, and Pembrolizumab as Initial Treatment in Lung Cancer in NEJM.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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