Project Highlights

Recovering Vision in Amblyopia

Aim of this project 

Amblyopia (lazy eye) is a brain-based disorder of vision that is caused by a mismatch in the images from each eye during early childhood.  People with amblyopia experience reduced vision in one eye and an inability of the two eyes to work together leading to a loss of 3D vision. This research project is exploring ways to recover vision in patients with amblyopia. There is a particular focus on treating adult patients because neuroplasticity (capacity for change) within the brain decreases with age making amblyopia treatment more challenging in adults compared to children.

Summary 

If amblyopia is detected and treated early, treatment success rates are much higher. Unfortunately, if detected late this disorder is commonly left untreated, since conventional wisdom suggests that treatment in adults is not effective because of limited neuroplasticity. However, recent studies suggest that treatment of amblyopia in adulthood is possible.

SPECTRA (SPEctacle Correction for the TReatment of Amblyopia), the main study being conducted under this project, takes this into account and is a longitudinal clinical trial investigating the use of appropriate optical correction to recover vision in adults with amblyopia. The idea is that the change in visual input induced by the optical correction will alter visual processing with the brain to improve sight. This work builds upon recent studies indicating that the adult brain has sufficient neuroplasticity for recovery from amblyopia.