An abundant amount of unconventional diagnosis/treatment methods has been finding its way into the world of optometry.
For instance, eye patches have long been the go-to solution for treating amblyopia, or lazy eye, in children but researchers are beginning to accept the notion that having patients play video games could provide better outcomes. The video game route certainly is more engaging for patients (especially the younger ones), which has the added benefit of boosting compliance. And the video game tactic isn’t being restricted to amblyopia. Although individuals born with cataracts in both eyes have their vision “corrected” by surgery and contact lenses, research shows they experience visual processing deficiencies into adulthood that can be reversed if they follow a short program of video gaming.
Then there is 3D technology. At first thought of as harmful to eyes, it’s been revealed the ability to perceive depth in a 3D presentation can better identify underlying vision issues than the standard eye chart. This is because 3D viewing requires that both eyes function in a coordinated manner as they converge, focus, and track the 3D image.
Even apps are finding their way into eyecare treatment. Studies at the School of Optometry at the University of California in Berkeley demonstrated the advantage of using a new technology product, GlassesOff, to help people overcome presbyopia in three months. GlassesOff is a software solution that boosts brain performance to improve visual acuity.
The latest in alternative solutions isn’t all about the digital realm. There’s also the controversial method of using stem cells for macular degeneration treatment. After positive initial results, more research is being looked into using stem cells from donated human embryos to improve vision.
All these unorthodox methods reinforce the fact that you shouldn’t be content to use the same conventional techniques in your own practice. Additionally, implementing the latest in eyecare technology doesn’t always have to seem like an unattainable goal. For example, the scientific community is abuzz discussing how genetic testing will become a standard in management of ocular disease. “The Genetic Model” is one area in optometry that can be easily incorporated in your practice if you are not doing so already. In fact, we will be covering this very subject in our next issue and reveal how you can utilize this “unconventional” service to help maintain your patients’ health.