July 26, 2017 – Lazy Eye, medically known as Amblyopia, is prevalent in about 100,000 children in the USA and is the #1 cause of permanent vision loss in children and young adults and can lead to legal blindness in the affected eye. Inadequate vision screening is the main cause for Amblyopia and the subsequent vision loss. This will change with the newly released DiagnosticGame® App that is an essential tool to discover and diagnose Amblyopia.
The DiagnosticGame® App is downloaded on an iPad or other device for vision screening of children three years of age and older and is easily accessible; be they privileged, impoverished or rurally located. Children usually are unaware of a vision problem in one eye since it can’t be seen, it can’t be felt and it can’t be known because vision favors the other eye. There is, however, a well-defined window of opportunity for Amblyopia treatment and when treated early in life, is generally successfully corrected.
What is the problem with current vision screening? The usual screening method only measures the loss of visual acuity and does not measure the loss of brightness occurring in the Amblyopic eye. Additionally, visual acuity screening does not reach all children; it requires a facility; a standardized visual acuity chart; and a nonbiased, trained examiner who understands the pitfalls of chart memorization and peeking with the good eye that results in missing poor vision in the affected eye. Referral for a comprehensive eye examination is recommended when vision is 20/40 or worse for those younger than five years of age and the eye care specialist diagnoses Amblyopia when the vision cannot be fully corrected with glasses in a normal appearing eye. It is important to note that loss of brightness perception occurs early in amblyopia, even before the referral level of 20/40. Earlier diagnosis would lead to earlier treatment and possibly better outcomes. Loss of brightness and loss of visual acuity should both be determining factors for screening for Amblyopia and both are measured with the DiagnosticGame® App.
Vision screening with the DiagnosticGame® App is entirely new. It can be used in school, at camp and in the pediatrician or family doctor’s office. The testing process is different as it is completely automated and nonbiased; the interplay is between the child and iPad; there is no need for an ophthalmic trained examiner and the results are digitally stored. The visual acuity test uses shape-matching technology for automation and to eliminate the need for literacy. The tests for Amblyopia measure for both brightness and visual acuity loss. Brightness loss is a compelling clue that Amblyopia is present and this is the first program to address this factor.
The DiagnosticGame® App screening process identifies (1) a brightness loss which signals Amblyopia and (2) the presence of vision loss due to a need for glasses. Both results warrant referral to an eye care specialist. In addition, the App contains programs to test color vision, stereopsis and potential vision. A study beginning three years ago is underway with screening children in schools.
The DiagnosticGame® App is a product of AMA Optics, Inc. and is available on the Apple Store.