A new and innovative approach to treat a lazy eye, or amblyopia, is showing incredible success and it's doing it in a fun way.  By playing video games!  A research team led by Dr. Robert Hess from McGill University and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre have used the popular video game, Tetris, for treatment of a lazy eye in a way never done before.  They are seeing dramatic improvements in people with a lazy eye, and it's all thanks to thinking outside the box, and into a different box, the Tetris box that we've all grown to know and love!

Tetris is typically a productivity killer, as we sit there playing it on our cell phones at work when we're supposed to be getting things accomplished.  Well, these guys turned Tetris into something completely different and it's accomplishing some pretty amazing things!

I'll let more brilliant minds than mine explain how it works.

"By distributing information between the two eyes in a complementary fashion, the video game trains both eyes to work together, which is counter to previous treatments for the disorder (e.g. patching one eye).

This medical breakthrough provides direct evidence that alleviating suppression of the weaker eye, by forcing both eyes to cooperate, increases the level of plasticity in the brain and allows the amblyopic brain to relearn. The research is published in the  journal Current Biology."

I know that's pretty hard to understand so have a look at this for a more in depth and understandable explanation of the process (Science Daily):

"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," explains Dr. Hess, who also serves as director of McGill Vision Research. "Forcing the eyes to work together, we believed, would improve vision in the lazy eye."

The researchers tested a sample of 18 adults with amblyopia. Nine participants played the game monocularly with the weaker eye, while the stronger eye was patched; the other nine played the same game dichoptically, where each eye was allowed to view a separate part of the game. After two weeks, the group playing the dichoptic game showed a dramatic improvement in the vision of the weaker eye as well as in 3-D depth perception. When the monocular patching group, who had showed only a moderate improvement, was switched to the new dichoptic training, the vision of this group also improved dramatically."

So there you have it!  They've turned Tetris from a productivity killer into something incredibly productive!  Utilizing the way the game works in stacking and matching the blocks, and forcing a persons eyes to both work together in the process.  Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?  Some things just seem so obvious after you find out about it.


More From KISS FM 96.9