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Video game offers entertaining new treatment for 'lazy eye'

MONTREAL: Video game developer Ubisoft and a partner firm announced Tuesday the first therapeutic use of a video game to treat amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye,” which afflicts mostly children.

Ubisoft and Amblyotech Inc. used inventions patented by researchers at McGill University in Montreal and subsequently licensed to Amblyotech to come up with the breakthrough treatment, which it said is also “entertaining.”

Amblyopia afflicts an estimated three percent of children worldwide and if left untreated is a leading cause of blindness in adults.

The ocular disorder involves decreased vision in one eye as the result of a turned eye or because one eye is more powerful than the other.

Traditional treatments, including patching of the sighted eye, often fail because of social stigmas and long treatment times leading to poor compliance and a high relapse.

The video game, called “Dig Rush,” uses both eyes binocularly to train the brain in order to improve visual acuity, instead of training just the weak eye.

A physican simply adjusts the game’s settings, using different contrast levels of red and blue that can be seen through stereoscopic glasses, to allow both eyes to see the gameplay unfolding.

Amblyotech chief executive Joseph Koziak said the electronic therapy has been tested clinically to “significantly increase the visual acuity” in patients.

The game is awaiting regulatory approval- AFP

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