Dennis Levi, O.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the College of Optometry at U.C. Berkeley. It’s also safe to say that he’s the leading researcher in the world on amblyopia therapy. I wrote an essay for the Journal of Behavioral Optometry that chronicled how I re-connected with Dennis at a Vision Sciences Society meeting, and how this ultimately led to Sue Barry and I joining Dr. Levi at a meeting during which we saw the seeds for this reserach being planted.
Ironically, in the same issue of the JBO, Dr. Jeffrey Cooper published a paper that included a review of his computerized program, Amblyopia iNet, as a support to amblyopia therapy. So clearly we’ve known for some time clinically that an interactive video game-like format can enhance the results of amblyopia therapy. And, as our colleague Dr. Dan Fortenbacher pointed out last year, eye patching alone is no longer the standard of are in optometric vision therapy.
Dr. Ed Melman, a skilled and well-read primary care optometric physician and colleague in New Jersey, called our attention this morning to an article from Levi’s Laboratory that he was excited to share. It’s from the August 2011 issue of PLOS Biology, and is entitled Video-Game Play Induces Plasticity in the Visual System of Adults With Amblyopia. The release from U.C. Berkeley interviewing Dr. Levi and fellow researcher Roger Li can be found here. The significance of this work is not only that active therapy achieves results beyond what passive occlusion accomplishes, but adds to the impressive body of literature regarding residual plasticity in the adult visual system. This is welcome news for adults with amblyopia who are receptive to improving their visual function.
– Leonard J. Press, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO