I need glasses. My eyesight is rubbish — most people in my life tend to blame the copious amount of time spent inches away from some form of screen for that. But now science is informing us that games may be helping people with eyesight issues.
According to a study from the School of Optometry and the Helen Willis Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkley, children with Amblyopia — more commonly known as 'lazy eye' — saw improvements after 40 hours of gaming. Apparently their ability to perceive depth was improved in that time period.
"This study is the first to show that video game play is useful for improving blurred vision in adults with amblyopia," said Dr. Roger Li, research optometrist involved in the study. "I was very surprised by this finding; I didn't expect to see this type of improvement."
Before these findings, there was little in the way of accepted treatments for those with amblyopia above a certain age.
"These new findings are very encouraging because there are currently no accepted treatments for adults with amblyopia," claimed Dr. Dennis Levi. "A lot of eye doctors start closing the books on successful treatment after age 8 or so because of the widespread belief that amblyopia can only be reversed during a critical window of development in the visual cortex. If the disorder is not corrected in childhood, the damage was thought to be irreversible."
Usually treatment for amblyopia involves patches and dull repetitive tasks. The researchers involved in this study are hoping the fact that games may be involved in future treatments may help children stick to regimes more easily.
"Playing a video game is a lot more fun than just wearing a patch, so the hope is that compliance is likely to be higher among kids," said Levi. "Wearing a patch can be socially awkward for some kids, so our hope is to see faster improvement by having them do an intensive task like playing a video game."