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Eye Exercises Might Boost Fine Depth Perception

Posted Oct 14 2010 10:00am
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Push-pull training method could also be used for 'lazy eye,' researchers say.

THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A new study says a push-pull training method is a good way to correct a condition called sensory eye dominance, in which an imbalance between the vision strength of the eyes impairs fine depth perception.

This method -- which involves making the weaker eye work while the stronger eye is suppressed -- could be especially important for people who depend on fine depth perception for their work, such as dentists, surgeons, machinists and athletes.

It's also likely that the method can be adapted for treating children with amblyopia (also known as lazy eye), which affects 2 to 3 percent of children in the United States, said the authors of the study published in the Oct. 14 online edition of the journal Current Biology.

"After a 10-day training period, we found our participants' sensory eye dominance is significantly reduced as the two eyes become more balanced. As a consequence, their depth perception also improves significantly," Teng Leng Ooi, of Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

It's not clear how the push-pull training method works to readjust the balance between the eyes, the study authors noted.

"Possibly, by causing the strong eye to be suppressed at all times during the training, we reduce the inhibitory hold of the strong eye on the weak eye," Ooi said.

Further studies are needed to determine exactly how this eye training technique improves depth perception, the study authors suggested.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about amblyopia .

(SOURCE: Cell Press, news release, Oct. 14, 2010)

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