Mario Kart Saved My Eyesight

A British youth overcame what is called "lazy eye syndrome" thanks to a doctor's prescription of Mario Kart DS, restoring his right eye from "near blindness" to a 250 per cent improvement.

At age five, Ben Michaels was diagnosed with ambylopia in his right eye, which results in a steady decline in vision in that eyeball. Untreated he would have gone completely blind in it. His doctor, however, told Ben to play Mario Kart DS with an eye patch, which trained the "lazy" one to work harder and thus to improve.

Best part, the therapy called for playing video games two hours a day. Sorry mum, doctor's orders! It doesn't appear that the success was dependent Mario Kart DS or any specific game or console. Perhaps its mentioned here because it was Ben's favourite.

"A games console is something children can relate to. It allows us to deliver treatment quicker," said Ben's doctor. "What we don't know is whether improvement is solely because of improved compliance, i.e. the child sticks with the patch more, or whether there is a physiological improvement from perceptual visual learning."

Either way, it appears to have worked.

Boy's Eyesight Saved After He is Prescribed Daily Dose of Nintendo Super Mario Game [The Daily Mail, U.K. via Game Politics. Image by The Daily Mail.]


    This is the best piece of news I've read all day. What a champ! :)

    I had amblyopia when i was a kid. I wish they had mario kart and ds' back then.

    Games are so useful for hard therapies that require hours of repetitive exercise. It feels nearly impossibly to grind through a couple of hours of physio, but if it is part of an engaging game, then it can sometimes be a lot easier, or even enjoyable.
    I'd really like to see the kinect type tech exploited for physical rehabilitation, it offers some real promise in that arena.

    Does anyone know if an SDK for Kinect is coming for the PC?

      I don't know why I haven't thought of that before. +500 to therapeutic Kinect. That's even better than using Wii.

      i hope to god it is, since im banking on developing kinect titles i will actually enjoy.

    Ben's next battle (or his parent's) is to fight against game addiction ;)

    I did this as well when i was young.
    except i was playing mario kart on the snes! how appropriate.
    I had 75% vision in my left eye. now i have 80% vision!

    Give the whole eyepatch thing, surely it would have been more appropriate to prescribe something like Sid Meier's Pirates!?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now