A study of 18 adults carried out by McGill University in Canada has shown that playing Tetris can help treat amblyopisa—commonly known as lazy eye. The way Tetris works is that it trains both eyes to work together as opposed to the commonly used method of patching the good eye and making the lazy one do twice the work. According to Current Biology, Tetris was more effective and worked faster than other methods. A year earlier, a similar study was carried out with children as the focus group in Scotland. A game similar to Tetris was used and turned up results similar to the Canadian study.
“When we get the two eyes working together, we find the vision improves,” said Dr. Robert Hess who was a part of the research team. “It’s much better than patching, much more enjoyable, it’s faster and it seems to work better.” Dr. Dolores Conroy echoed similar sentiments for the results of the Glasgow study.
Positive results in the two studies could lead to more institutions looking into using the video game classic as a means to treat amblyopia. While it is sure to take a few more years study to make sure, with more studies being done and turning up similar favorable results, Tetris and Tetris-like games could become a regular method of treatment. Who knows, it could do away with patching considering that Tetris or a similar game would probably come off as more appealing.
Amblyopia occurs when the brain cuts off processing to that eye to prevent double vision. It can also occur when visual stimulation doesn’t transmit through the eye or is poor transmitted. It is possible for both eyes to have amblyopia. It affects roughly 1 to 5 percent of the population and can be treated with early detection.