One in every fifty children is born with a condition known as amblyopia, otherwise known as lazy eye. If left untreated, these children can suffer a permanent loss of vision in one of their eyes. Traditional methods of therapy include wearing a patch over the unaffected eye in order to cause the lazy eye to work more. However, doctors may have found a groundbreaking new treatment for the condition: Tetris.
A new study (via Eurogamer) had children diagnosed with the disorder wear a special pair of goggles which made falling blocks visible to only one eye while ground blocks were visible only to another. This group showed marked improvement over the control group, which played using their lazy eye only.
What this means is that our conventional knowledge on the disorder, that one eye is lazy and it simply needs to re-learn how to see, is wrong. Instead, the disorder is a two eye problem, and regaining sight means regaining the ability to cooperate between both eyes. The fact that the control group showed even further improvement when later exposed to the net two eye method supports this.
Tetris is a perfect game to test this new theory with, because it requires tracking motion and shape at the same time. Unfortunately, many other test methods (such as typing or picking out shapes), can be flawed as children can memorize responses or pick up context clues in order to fool the test itself. However, the high scores of Tetris do not lie.