Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Little Patients Triplets Try Alternative to Eye-Patch Therapy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Little Patients Triplets Try Alternative to Eye-Patch Therapy

Article excerpt

Each of the Layton triplets has blond hair, a sweet smile and a

black eye.

The hair and smiles are natural to the identical siblings, but

the black eyes are ebony-hued contact lenses prescribed by a

physician.

It's an update of the old black eye-patch therapy, a more

modern attempt to help the girls overcome a vision disorder

called amblyopia.

In amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye," a patient has one

eye that focuses well and right on its target and another with

poorer focus and/or direction.

In children with amblyopia, the brain may re-circuit itself to

ignore the images coming in from the deviating eye, meaning the

child will come to see only through the good eye.

Doctors want their patients to use both eyes and strive to

correct the problem in children by age 8, said Robert Hered, a

pediatric ophthalmologist who is treating the Layton girls.

Each of the 6 1/2-year-old sisters from Mayport wears a dark

lens over her good eye to force her to use and better direct her

deviating eye. Kathryn and Kelley wear lenses over their left

eyes; Kimberly's goes over her right.

And it seems to be helping, said the triplet's mom, Wendy

Layton.

"Their teacher said it's amazing the difference that it makes

in the classroom when they have their contacts in," she said.

"They've started reading and writing and finally started

coloring within the lines," she said. She noted that the girls

are at an age when children come to master those skills anyway,

so it's hard to know exactly what the dark lenses have

accomplished.

Amblyopia can be corrected in children if doctors or parents

can get children to keep their good eyes covered. The

traditional method has been placing a patch or pear-shaped

Band-Aid on the good eye each day.

But kids are kids, and sometimes patches don't stay put.

"It was a nightmare," Layton recalled of her attempts to get

the triplets to wear adhesive eye patches. …

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