University of Nottingham

Using virtual reality to treat lazy eye - iBiTTM system

Human Factors pic

Amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’ is reduced vision in one eye which is usually treated by wearing a patch over the non-amblyopic ‘good’ eye for several hours per day, over a period of many months. Understandably, this treatment is not very popular with young children.

Working as a unique collaboration our multi-disciplinary team involves orthoptists, ophthalmologists and IT technologists from the Human Factors Research Group at University of Nottingham, University of Hull and the National Health Service (NHS). Together we have devised a novel virtual-reality based system, the I-BiT™ system, in which children play interactive computer games or watch videos.


The aim of our research is to provide a new way to treat amblyopia, that young children will find interesting and so comply with treatment.

The I-BiT Plus system is specially configured to allow more stimulation to the lazy eye to encourage this eye to be used. The innovation is that this is a binocular treatment and the non-amblyopic “good” eye is not patched or blurred.

Early clinical trials have showed encouraging results, with increases in vision in some children after only six weeks of treatment.

The project started in April 2010 and is expected to be complete in Summer 2018.

The project is led by Professor Alexander Foss, Consultant  Ophthalmologist at Nottingham University Hospitals.

For more information, visit the I-BiT™ website

The I-BiT™ research has previously been funded by the William and Mabel Morris Charitable Trust and Sandra Charitable Trust. Additional funding was provided by The University of Nottingham, The Queen's Medical Centre and The NHS Trust.  I-BiT was funded by a Wellcome Trust Translation Award until 2015 and currently by an i4i award from NIHR to 2017.