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New technique corrects amblyopia in cats and mice

US researchers have demonstrated that temporarily anaesthetising the retina of the good eye can result in lasting vision improvement

cat eyes
Pixabay/St cocoparisienne

Scientists from MIT and Dalhousie University in the US have corrected amblyopia in cats and mice by temporarily anaesthetising the retina of the good eye.

Describing their findings in eLife, researchers highlighted that short-term inactivation of the functional eye “is sufficient to promote a full and enduring recovery from amblyopia at ages when conventional treatments fail.”

The approach was effective in mature animals who were past the age where patch therapy is plausible.

Study author, Professor Mark Bear, of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, shared that every amblyopic animal involved in the experiment made a recovery.

"We've done much better than anyone would have anticipated," he said.

Professor Kevin Duffy, of Dalhousie University, described the results as “remarkable.”

"I am hopeful and optimistic that this study can provide a pathway for a new and more effective approach to amblyopia treatment. I am very proud to have been part of this rewarding collaboration," he said.

Further studies will be carried out to ensure that the new approach is safe and effective for people who can no longer use patch therapy, such as adults.