As a child, I had a friend with a lazy eye. I was super jealous of him at the time because he got to wear a pirate-themed eye patch. Looking back on it now, it's easy to see why being forced to wear an eye patch isn't exactly the greatest thing in the world. Thankfully, new research may have found a way to help cure lazy eyes without needing patches.
In a new study to be published in Current Biology, McGill University in Quebec found that playing Tetris for an hour a day for two weeks helped strengthen lazy eyes in adults far better than the traditional eye patch method. The game, with the help of special goggles, makes the patient's eyes work together in unison to strengthen both.
The special goggles work together with Tetris to ensure that both eyes see separate things while playing the game. One eye will only see the falling blocks while the other will only see the blocks that have accumulated on the ground. This forces both eyes to work together to successfully clear rows of blocks.
After this test, the researchers had another group of adults with lazy eyes play Tetris while wearing the same goggles, but these participants had their good eye covered the whole time. They found that playing Tetris with only the lazy eye didn't lead to any significant improvement. They did find, however, that this group saw significant improvement once they moved to the aforementioned method of having both eyes work together to play the game.
The researchers say that playing Tetris, or any other game that makes both eyes work together, could help cure lazy eyes in adults. The researchers now want to test the same treatment on children. It could prove to be a better alternative to the traditional eye patch that must be incredibly embarrassing to some children not lucky enough to get a pirate-themed eye patch.[h/t: BBC]