The virtues of Tetris
Thursday, May 2 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
The popular video game Tetris may help treat adult amblyopia, according to researchers at McGill University.
The usual treatment for this disorder involves covering the stronger eye to force the weaker eye to work. This approach has proven only partially effective in children, and has had little impact on amblyopia in adults. The McGill researchers focussed instead on forcing both eyes to cooperate in accomplishing given tasks.
The research participants were given special video goggles that displayed the game differently in each lens. “One eye was allowed to see only the falling objects, and the other eye was allowed to see only the ground plane objects,” explained Dr. Robert Hess. The researchers were convinced that this cooperative effort would improve vision in the lazy eye by increasing the level of plasticity in the brain and allowing this eye to relearn.
After two weeks, compared to patients playing Tetris the traditional way, patients using Dr. Hess’s method showed dramatic improvements in their vision and depth perception.