Some binocular treatments for amblyopia propose that they help children overcome interocular suppression and experience binocular vision while playing a game and possibly yield better vision outcomes. Others believe that combining a binocular game with patching demonstrates even more visual acuity (VA) improvement. However, a Chinese study has revealed that using a binocular game has no superiority in binocularity over part-time patching, and combining the two does not improve VA.

For 103 Chinese anisometropic children between the ages of three and 13, researchers prescribed three months of at-home therapy. The binocular group played a binocular game for 40 minutes each day, divided into four training sessions. The patching group received two to six hours of patching of the fellow eye a day depending on the severity of amblyopia. The combined group had to complete both the binocular game and part-time patching.

The differences in VA changes were similar among the three groups, suggesting the binocular game treatment on its own was not better in reducing interocular suppression. The study notes that children often lost interest in the game after a number of days or weeks, despite binocular treatment being divided into four 10-minute intervals.

Researchers have yet to decide whether the game could act as a complementary method to patching in amblyopia therapy. They do conclude that using a binocular game could be useful for those who may not be amenable to patching.

Yao J, Moon HY, Qu X. Binocular game versus part-time patching for treatment of anisometropic amblyopia in Chinese children: a randomized clinical trial. Br J Ophthalmol. July 4, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].