The six-year old suffered from severe lazy eye syndrome (amblyopia) in his right eye, which was causing his eyesight to decrease gradually but constantly. Doctors explained that without treatment, his sight loss could become permanent, and consultant Ken Nischal prescribed an interesting course of treatment.
Ben now spends two hours a day playing Mario Kart on his DS with his twin brother, Jake. The catch: Ben must wear an eyepatch over his good eye, to make his lazy one “work harder”.
The therapy is not new in concept, but has been adapted to meet the changing tastes of children. Mr. Nischal explained that computer games encourage repetitive eye movement, which trains the eye to focus correctly.
“A games console is something children can relate to. It allows us to deliver treatment quicker. What we don’t know is whether improvement is solely because of improved compliance, ie the child sticks with the patch more, or whether there is a physiological improvement from perceptual visual learning.”
According to his mother, Ben’s vision improved ‘250 percent’ in the first week – a marked step up from being ‘nearly blind’ in one eye!
“When he started he could not identify our faces with his weak eye. Now he can read with it although he is still a way off where he ought to be.
“He was very cooperative with the patch, it had [a] phenomenal effect and we’re very pleased.”
So, next time your Mum tells you to stop playing games or you’ll ruin your eyesight, point her over here – Dr. Mario would like to have a few words.
(Source and image: MailOnline)