A VR-based treatment for children with the visual disorder amblyopia, or lazy eye developed by Luminopia, has received Food and Drug Administration clearance. The treatment works by showing modified TV shows or movies through a virtual reality headset that improves the patients’ vision.
“We’re proud to be part of the FDA’s groundbreaking decision today, to approve a first-of-its-kind digital therapeutic that allows patients to watch their favorite TV shows and movies to improve their vision,” Scott Xiao, Chief Executive Officer of Luminopia.
Amblyopia is a condition that impacts children when their brain and eyes stop communicating correctly. The brain favors one eye, which leads to vision problems in the other eye. The condition is conventionally treated by covering the stronger eye with a patch or blurring drops that force the brain to use the weaker eye.
Luminopia’s approach develops the weaker eye and trains the eyes to work together using TV and movies. Each eye gets to see different visuals through the VR headset as the stronger eye gets to see a low contrast image. The images feature overlays that compel the brain to draw power from both the eyes to observe.
Kids that participated in the therapy during clinical trials demonstrated significant improvement in their vision compared to those who just wore correct glasses. Sixty-two percent of the kids showcased progress in their vision after 12 weeks of watching the shows one hour per day, six days per week. In contrast, the comparison group oversaw only a third of the kids showcasing similar improvements over the period.
The company has built over 700 hours of programming in its library. Moreover, it is partnering with services such as Nelvana and Sesame Workshop to enhance the platform further. It has become one amongst just a handful of companies to receive clearance for a digital therapeutic as a prescription treatment for medical conditions.
Luminopia plans to launch the treatment commercially in 2022.
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