According to a new study, playing video games can be good for your eyes. A recent study from McGillUniversity in Montreal shows visual acuity improvement in adults with amblyopia by playing the video game Tetris. Now before all you adults with lazy eyes run off and start playing Tetris on your phone, I should note that the game that they were playing was a special version. This version made it so that the falling blocks were seen by one eye and the placed blocks were seen by the other eye so one had to use both eyes in order to play the game effectively.
The researchers found that the adults that played the game in this manner for an hour a day for two weeks had superior results than the control group that played the game by simply wearing a patch. Because it was a rather small study, the researchers then let the patch control group play the game with the special glasses and their visual acuities significantly improved as well. This study once again proves that amblyopia is a binocular phenomenon and that treating only the “bad” eye isn’t as effective as making the brain have to learn how to use both signals and images in an effective manner.
Once again this was a small study of only 18 individuals but larger scale studies are underway and the preliminary results look to be the same. The researchers feel that other games could be just as effective as long as there were controls as far as what each eye sees on the screen. Another game that I have used similar to this is, Pac-Man. With red and blue glasses the blue eye is the only one that sees the maze and trying to play Pac-Man without seeing the maze is quite difficult!
The study by Current Biology can be viewed here.
The Vision Therapy Blog does not recommend trying this on your own and if you do have a lazy eye, please seek an evaluation from a behavioral optometrist. A list of optometrists can be found at www.covd.org