Annegret Dahlmann-Noor is a consultant ophthalmologist specialising in paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus (squints). Annegret is undertaking research into improving treatments for amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’. This is the most common vision defect in children, affecting 2-4% of the UK population.
If amblyopia isn’t treated vision in the affected eye is poor, leading to many detrimental effects such as poor hand eye coordination and a lack of 3D vision. It is also possible that problems in the ‘good’ eye develop as the child moves into adulthood, which could lead to deteriorating eyesight or even blindness.
Amblyopia research has discovered that the deficiency is with the two eyes not ‘speaking’ to each other. The visual part of a baby’s brain can be normal but if one of their eyes is ‘lazy’ the brain will naturally allocate more space to the stronger eye, causing an imbalance in vision.
The traditional cure for a squint was to patch the ‘good’ eye in order to strengthen the weaker eye. The problem is that most children do not wear a patch for the prescribed time. A special pair of LCD shutter glasses are being piloted through the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre, which give a blurred image to the strong eye and clear image to the weak eye.
The children are asked to watch a 3D movie wearing the glasses for one hour each day. Initial results show that children use the glasses for 90% of the prescribed time, compared to 50% compliance when using traditional patches.
These results are really encouraging. Research is demonstrating that by making treatments child friendly, children respond more willingly.
Read more about the Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre in 'Transforming lives for 10 years'.