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Antonella Veronese, Giuseppe Lo Giudice, Gianluca Campana, Rebecca Camilleri, Andrea Pavan, Alessandro Galan, ; Improving visual functions in adult amblyopia with combined perceptual training and transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS): a pilot study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):2193.
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to assess whether a much shorter perceptual training regime, in association with high-frequency transcranial electrical stimulation (hf-tRNS), was able to improve visual functions in a group of adult participants with amblyopia.
Seven participants with anisometric amblyopia were recruited at the San Paolo Ophthalmic Center of San Antonio Hospital (Padova, Italy).<br /> The participants were enrolled in a 2-week (8 sessions) behavioural training programme using a contrast detection task under lateral masking conditions combined with online high frequency tRNS (hf-tRNS). All pre/post tests were administered monocularly on either eye and with the best optical correction. Perceptual training was also administered monocularly on the amblyopic eye with the best optical correction.<br /> Exclusion criteria included any other ocular condition or cause for reduced VA other than amblyopia, myopia, presbyopia, hypermetropia and/or astigmatism; these include diabetes mellitus, pregnancy, presence of myopia-related ocular complications and any previous ocular surgery. Exclusion criteria also included incompatibility with transcranial electrical stimulation, as assessed with a questionnaire (e.g. history of seizures, skin problems, migraine, etc.). This study has been approved by the local Ethics Committee.<br /> <br />
VA and CS data were analysed with a repeated measures ANOVA with Time (pre- vs. post-test), and Spatial Frequency (only for CS: 0.8, 2.9, 5.8, 9.7, and 14.5 cpd) as within-subjects factors, and Eye (amblyopic/trained vs. non-amblyopic/untrained) as a between-subjects factor. Following eight sessions of a contrast detection training with lateral masking, VA significantly improved in both trained and untrained eye (F1,12=35.4, p=.0001, η2p=0.75). The VA in the trained and untrained eye was also significantly different (F1,8=22.12, p=.001, η2p=0.65). CS significantly improved after training (F1,12=11.7, p=.005, η2p=0.49), regardless the eye (interaction Time by Eye: F1,12=.03, p=.87, η2p=0.02)
In our small sample of participants, a short (8 sessions) contrast detection training under lateral masking conditions and concurrent hf-tRNS was able to increase mean VA by 0.18 LogMAR (53% improvement, ranging from 25% to 111%) in the trained amblyopic eye. The CSF also resulted in strong improvements following training.
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