Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Innovative new electronic glasses designed to treat amblyopia in children

Amblyz from Xpand 3D

Treating Amblyopia with Electronic Glasses

This has got to be one of the neatest things and best news that I have read for children with Amblyopia!  A new way to treat Amblyopia using electronic glasses.  The patch could be a thing of the past! 

The glasses, named Amblyz, were developed by Xpand 3D and designed by Gigodesign to treat Amblyopia in children.  Amblyz glasses look similar to prescription sports goggles. The glasses then uses an electronic liquid crystal shuttering device that is programmable so that the glasses intermittently occlude the eye. The lens will alternate in between being opaque vs transparent, essentially like an electronic shade. Amblyz glasses  are rechargeable (can be done at night when the child isn't wearing them) and come with a charging cable. 

It's been a long time coming for Amblyz of which the prototype was developed in 2004.  Clinical trials and studies have been completed overseas (in the Middle East).  You can find info on the trials, research and development on the Amblyz site including links to the studies.

I want Amblyz for my child... When can I get these? 
Amblyz will be available in the US in December 2012 via select Opthalmologists and Opticians. 

How much do Amblyz cost?
They will be priced around $500  which includes a guarantee against breakage

What do you think? Would you  use these instead of patching?

Here are my initial thoughts on Amblyz. Or perhaps... my Questions about Amblyz
  • Will other colors or styles be available?
  • Will they come in different sizes?
  • How comfortable are these?
  • Durability?
  • Safety?
  • Is there a way to turn off the electronic shuttering when clear lenses are needed?
  • Will insurance cover these frames?
I think the concept of Amblyz is spot-on and love the idea!  My daughter hates patching and would do anything to not have to patch.  However, I think my daughter might not like the styling of these at her age though it would be easier for younger kids.  The Xpand website shows a single color/style choice (white and orange) - a range in colors would be nice. It also mentions an adjustable nosepiece but I wonder about the fit and comfort of them vs standard glasses that can be fitted and adjusted in so many ways.  Sizing is also a question/concern as they say they are for kids ages 3-10 years of age, that is quite a size range so I'd like to know if different sizes will be available. Of course, I wonder how comfortable are these to wear?  There is a page for Safety info on the Amblyz webpage that at this time says coming soon... Safety, of course is a concern.  One reason why we use the eye patch vs the eye drops (atropine) is that the eye patch is more controllable. I can choose and monitor exactly when my child is patching. I can also remove the patch when she needs the use of 2 eyes for safety reason - for example, during sports, phys ed, playground etc.  I suppose with these Amblyz you would just remove the glasses and switch to a separate pair during those times that occlusion would be a risk.  At around $500 I would also want to know about the durability of these, I am pleased to see they will come with a guarantee as that is quite an investment. I'm reminding myself as I complain about the cost/price that  Glasses are so expensive but good vision is priceless.  

So many questions... but I'm definitely going to do more research about these.

I would love to know what YOU think... Would you get these for your child???? What questions do you have?
 

Related Links
Xpand 3D - Amblyz website 
GigoDesign: The World's first electronic glasses for Amblyopia Treatment
No more eye patches - Kids with Amblyopia wear cool electronic glasses instead
HEALIO OPTOMETRY:Xpand launches electronic spectacles to combat amblyopia

5 comments:

  1. That's really interesting! I could see how intermittent occlusion works better, it keeps your child from falling in to a rut of only doing the same things while patching, and would give a good variety of activities while patching. I wonder what would happen if the occlusion turned on at a particularly visually-sensitive (not sure if that's the right word) time, like while they were climbing stairs or balancing, would they be more likely to get hurt?

    Like you, I'm doubtful that the current styling would appeal to kids, and it looks like there's only one size and it's not adjustable? It's so hard to tell, but the concept behind it seems really exciting.

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  2. I'll admit, I'm also a little annoyed that they mention having peer-reviewed journal articles about the technology but don't list or cite them. But that might just be the librarian in me.

    And I just realized that you brought up the same questions I had about times when it's really important for a child to have both eyes. Clearly mine aren't working too well today...

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  3. And never mind, I found the 2 papers on their website. Today is not my day.

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  4. I agree Ann - so many questions about them. The styling is very sports goggly but I could see these would not be good in a sports goggle type of situation.... generally, when my daughter is playing sports I DO NOT WANT HER PATCHING. They say its for ages 3-10... totally a wide range in age and size!!! $500 also. ouch!

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  5. PS! sorry I didn't see your comments come in sooner. I was actually editing and re-editing the article as I hit publish too soon and had so many thoughts on this that I wanted to add and so as you were commenting I was typing away..

    Definitely seeking some more info on these and would be hesitant to try something so experimental though I love the concept!!!!

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