Could a simple game of Tetris fix the lazy eye?
By, Terence Reparejo
Health & Science Editor
Researchers have claimed that playing the popular puzzle game, Tetris, can be used as a treatment for individuals suffering from amblyopia. Amblyopia is more commonly known as lazy eye.
Canadian researchers at McGill University, studied a total of 18 adults with lazy eye. They put a pair of goggles on the experiment participants which allowed one eye to see the falling blocks in the game, and the other eye to see only the blocks accumulating on the ground. After taking part in the group activity, the 18 adults showed significant improvement in their eye-to-eye coordination.
Dr. Robert Hess of McGill University is one of the leading researchers involved with the study concerning the video game and lazy eye.
“We have started to think about the condition in a completely different way,” says Hess. “The reason why the eye isn’t working is not because it is lazy, but because it is actively stopped from working by the signals from the sighted eye in the brain.”
Originally, doctors have always relied on patching. Patching is the technique by which the good eye is covered up in order to force the lazy one to work strenuously. However, this treatment has been documented several times as a failure.
Dr Hess said the treatment could be a good alternative to patching, particularly for adults because they tend not to benefit from this anyway. And any number of computer games could work, not just Tetris.
Hess said that “When we get the two eyes working together, we find that vision improves.
“It’s much better than patching, much more enjoyable, it’s faster and it seems to work better.”
An estimated one in 50 children has lazy eye, known medically as amblyopia. It happens when the vision in one eye does not develop properly, and is often accompanied by a condition where the eyes do not look in the same direction. Without treatment it can lead to a permanent loss of vision in the weak eye, which is why doctors try to intervene early.
So if you know anyone suffering from amblyopia, let them know that a good game of Tetris might be helpful.