What's New in Healthcare
Pac-man instead of patch: Using video games to improve lazy eye & depth perception
Scientists have created video games that add an
important element of fun to the repetitive training needed to improve vision in
people -- including adults -- with a lazy eye and poor depth perception.
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The training tools, including a
Pac-Man-style "cat and mouse" game and a "search for
oddball" game, have produced results in pilot testing: Weak-eye vision
improved to 20/20 and 20/50 in two adult research participants with lazy eyes whose
vision was 20/25 and 20/63, respectively, before the training began.
Unlike the common use of eye patches on dominant eyes to make
lazy eyes stronger, this type of testing uses a "push-pull" method by
making both eyes work during the training. Patching is push-only training
because the dominant eye remains completely unused.
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, affects an
estimated 2 to 3 percent of the population. The childhood disorder results when
the neural pathway from one eye to the brain does not develop because the eye
is sending blurry and/or incompatible images. This lack of balance in the eyes
typically leads to poor depth perception -- and the greater the imbalance is,
the more depth perception is impaired.
"In tests of these games, we've seen
improvements in depth perception and binocular vision in people with lazy eye.
The more abnormal the binocular vision is, the higher the number of training
sessions needed.", Said Teng Leng Ooi, professor of optometry at The Ohio
new computer games improve upon the initial design by ensuring these pathways
are adequately stimulated in each eye, and even in lazy eyes caused by an eye
turn. The games feature groups of lines with differing orientation, and players
wear red-green 3-D glasses that filter the images to each eye. The dominant eye
is stimulated with only a full screen of horizontal lines. The weak eye sees
bordered disks that contain vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines imposed
against a background of those same horizontal lines.
The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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