If you have a child between the age of 8-27 with lazy eye (amblyopia), the National Eye Institute will soon be soliciting volunteers for a study on a new form of treatment involving the drugs levodopa and carbidopa. These drugs are precursors for the production of dopamine , one of the main neurotransmitters, and often are sued to treat Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine is synthesized in the retina tissue in the back of the eye in amacrine cells. When the eye is light adapted, a lazy eye will show reduced levels of dopamine production, Dopamine seems to have a number of roles, effecting contrast sensitivity (which is one form of vision reduced in a lazy eyes. Rescued levels also inhibit the eye elongating (or growing longer from front ot back). This action tends to make an eye farsighted with astigmatism (since it does not seem to effect chewnges in equitoriL growth).
Adding these precurseres to lazy eye treatment may help restore sight past the age where we expect good results. After age 7-8 success rates drop down to 20-30% at best. This study will compare levadopa with and without patching an eye to see if there is a marked improvement. It will be oral supplementation with Levadopa. The trial is not yet recruiting for subjects and will probably require travel out of state.
This is very noteworthy from the aspect of treating a neurodegenerative condition potentially with a pharmaceutical drug and maybe reversing sightloss at an age where recovery isn’t normally expected.