Tetris Video Game Helps Treat Lazy Eye

variation of the popular video game Tetris has been found to be effective at
treating adult amblyopia, also known as ‘lazy eye’, according to new research
conducted by scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University
Health Centre (RI-MUHC).
one of the most common causes of visual impairment, amblyopia affects nearly 3
percent of the population. It occurs as a result of improper brain processing,
causing the weaker eye to be suppressed by the stronger eye. A person with lazy
eye will not be able to focus properly with one of their eyes – the eye with
impaired vision (amblyopia) will not receive clear images.
options for this condition include patching the stronger eye to make the weaker
one work more. However, this form of treatment has only been successful in
the adapted version of the puzzle game requires information to be sent to both
eyes, making them work cooperatively.
making both eyes cooperate, the amblyopic brain is able to relearn as a result
of an increase in the level of plasticity in the brain.
senior author of the study, Dr. Robert Hess, Director of Research Department of
Ophthalmology at the RI-MUHC and at McGill University, said:
“The key to improving vision for adults,
who currently have no other treatment options, was to set up conditions that
would enable the two eyes to cooperate for the first time in a given
Hess explained that the brain has quite a high level of plasticity, which means
that it is possible to treat vision loss which occurred during early visual
development. In fact, previous research has found that such plasticity can be
released temporarily with just 15 minutes of repetitive transcranial magnetic
stimulation (rTMS). The 15 minutes of rTMS therapy improved contrast
sensitivity in patients’ amblyopic eyes for a period of at least 30 minutes.
study, published in the journal Current Biology, assessed the effectiveness of
treating amblyopic adults with the game Tetris.
Hess, who also serves as director of McGill Vision Research, added:
“Using head-mounted video goggles we
were able to display the game dichoptically, where one eye was allowed to see
only the falling objects, and the other eye was allowed to see only the ground
plane objects. Forcing the eyes to work together, we believed, would improve
vision in the lazy eye.”
Tetris helped patients recover. They evaluated the efficacy of this novel form
of treatment in a total of 18 adults who suffered from amblyopia. Half of the
patients played the game with their stronger eye patched, while the other half
played the game dichoptically – each eye was able to see a separate part of the
patients who played the game with both eyes experienced significant improvement
in their vision of the weaker eye after only two weeks. The monocular patching
group also saw moderate improvements; however, this improvement increased
substantially when they started dichoptic training.

previous study conducted at an eye clinic in India, similarly revealed that
treatment of amblyopia can be achieved if patients stick to a regimen that
includes playing video games along with standard amblyopia treatment.
by Joseph Nordqvist
Medical News Today


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *