In recent years, particularly with the control and gameplay innovations of the DS / Wii era onwards, we've seen Nintendo systems used for various medical studies and treatments; that's most assuredly a good thing. Often these studies show a refreshing level of creativity along with their obvious scientific merit, such as the use of two Wii Remotes side by side to diagnose a rare eye disorder.
Useful and slightly quirky is therefore the ideal direction for helping people and giving us an "oh, that's cool" moment here at Nintendo Life. The latest example is a Canadian study that suggests playing visually stimulating video games, in this case specifically testing Tetris, can be a good method for improving lazy eye — this is known medically as amblyopia. The condition occurs when vision in one eye doesn't develop properly, and if untreated can lead to a permanent loss of vision in the bad eye. Typical treatment, for adults and children alike, is to wear a patch over the stronger eye for an extended period, which is naturally unpleasant both physically and socially. The team at McGill University, however, simply gave sufferers special goggles that made each eye focus on a different part of the game, ensuring both were active, and found that after two weeks of playing the game for one hour a day patients showed improvement in the weak eye.
It's not just Tetris that could be the answer, but other video games as well, while researcher Dr Robert Hess emphasized that the study shows the problem is solved by treating both eyes.
When we get the two eyes working together, we find the vision improves. It's much better than patching, much more enjoyable, it's faster and it seems to work better.
Studies are currently being setup in the UK and elsewhere, and it may not be long before lazy eye sufferers of all ages improve and resolve the symptoms with a bit of regular gaming. An hour of gaming a day keeps the doctor away, we guess.