Video games as a possible therapy to lazy eye? So suggests a new paper which appears in the August issue of the journal PLoS Biology.
Vision researchers at Berkeley found that participants in a pilot study playing a minimum 40 hours of video games registered improvements both in their visual acuity and 3-D depth perception.
Lazy eye is a condition related to a brain disorder in which the vision in one eye fails to develop properly. It's estimated to affected 2 to 3 out of every 100 American children, according to the National Eye Institute.
During the testing, participants played an action video game, where they were required to shoot at targets. They also played a non-action game which required them to construct something. During the course of their game playing, participants wore eye patches over their good eyes.
In reporting their findings, the Berkeley researchers noted that some of the participants, whose performance was measured after every 10 hours of gaming, started showing improvements earlier than 40 hours. Roger Li, a research optometrist at Berkeley and the study's lead author said the findings surprised him as he didn't expect to see this sort of improvement. However, research into video game therapy remains in its early stages and despite the encouraging results, Li still struck a cautious tone.
"It is not clear, yet, when vision improvement might plateau," he said. "But it's likely that those who have severe amblyopia will take longer to show improvement, but those patients also have the most room for improvement."
So far, however, no studies have found similar benefits for people playing computer games who have normal vision.
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