Tetris used to treat lazy eye
We all played Tetris--that fun video game with puzzle pieces falling from the sky, set to electronic Russian folk music? But it turns out that Tetris might have more benefits than as just a trusty time killer. Doctors from McGill University and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal have used the game to treat adult patients with ambylopia, commonly known as "lazy eye."
Using Tetris as a treatment, the researchers said, forces the two eyes to work together in a complementary fashion. Previous treatments isolated the damaged eye by putting a patch on the strong eye, forcing the weak eye to get stronger. This study tested 18 adults with lazy eyes, nine of whom played the video game with their stronger eye patched and nine who played the game dichoptically. People in the dichoptic group were allowed to see the game with both eyes, but wore goggles that allowed one eye to see the falling objects and one eye to only see the placement of the objects, forcing the eyes to work together in a complementary fashion. After two weeks, the group playing with two eyes showed dramatic improvement in the vision of the weaker eye and in depth perception; the group using one eye showed only moderate improvement.
Ambylopia affects up to three percent of the population, and is commonly found in children. It is caused by poor processing in the brain, which results in one eye developing to be weaker than the other. The researchers believe that this test further reinforces the plasticity of the brain and its ability to adapt to stimuli.