Your child’s health: Lazy eye iPad study

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CLEVELAND – Greyson Sluzewski not only likes playing games on an iPad, it is doctor’s orders. The six-year-old has amblyopia or lazy eye. “He has been patching for about three years now with little improvement. And, it’s becoming much more difficult to have him comply with keeping his patch on. “Greyson’s mom Beth Sluzewski said.

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Dr. Faruk Orge is a pediatric ophthalmologist with Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. He says patching the stronger eye has been the standard treatment for amblyopia since the 1700s. "You can cover or blur the good eye to push the brain to kind of see through the lazy eye to catch up," he said.

Dr. Orge is part of a national research study on the use of I-pads to treat lazy eye. Greyson is his first patient participating in the study. "Some encouraging studies tell us that instead of just patching one eye in what we call occlusion or penalizing the good eye, if we can force both eyes to be utilized then they may improve better," Dr. Orge said.

Greyson wears special glasses while playing the game on the iPad. The object is to line up the balls on the screen. "The glasses have different colors and the game differentiates these two colors and makes each eye see a different component of this game.

For the patient to be successfully playing the game they have to utilize both eyes at the same time. "If they work on this again and again, their vision tends to improve and that's what we're investigating at this point,” Dr. Orge explained.

Greyson said he would rather play the iPad game than wear a patch.

Participants in the iPad study play the game for one hour a day for sixteen weeks. Their results will be compared to children with lazy eye who wore a patch for two hours a day over the same time period.

Dr. Orge will be enrolling children, ages 5 to 17, for the Lazy Eye iPad study for the next several months.

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