Study involving kittens and darkness suggest treatment for lazy eyes

Credit: An excuse for a photo of cute kittens! Imaga via Oakland Animal Services

One in 25 children have amblyopia, which is more commonly known as the lazy eye. In turn, one in 25 children have trouble discerning both spacial distancing and details in their vision. There isn't very much that can be done for these children, though a recent study suggests that keeping them in the dark could provide beneficial effects.

Canadian researchers tested this theory on a bundle of super-cute kittens who suffered from amblyopia. They kept the little fuzzballs in complete darkness for ten days. The improvement to their sight was described as "startling."

In fact, after only a week in the completely dark room, the kittens could see as well out of their "weak" eyes as they could their normal eyes. The reasoning, theorized by the researchers, was that the brain could revert to a more immature state, thus allowing it to correct the faulty connections between the brain and the lazy eye.

At the moment, treatments are more along the lines of eye patches, which may solve the problem in the short term but can easily cause blindness in the already-weak eye.

Of course, this is still in testing, so parents should not put their children in totally dark rooms at home. But the results are definitely positive, and it could lead to major advances in treating amblyopia.

Via Daily Mail

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