Dr. Hess says that forcing both eyes to work together will increase neuroplasticity and help correct amblyopia in adults. Photo: McGill University Health Center
Playing the popular 1980s video game Tetris could help treat adult amblyopia, according to a study in the April 22 issue of Current Biology.

Researchers at the McGill University Health Center in Montreal evaluated 18 adults with amblyopia. Nine subjects played Tetris monocularly with the weaker eye, while the dominant eye was patched. The other nine subjects played dichoptically, where both eyes viewed a separate part of the game.

After two weeks, those who played Tetris dichoptically exhibited a dramatic visual improvement in the weaker eye, including enhanced 3-D depth perception. By contrast, subjects in the monocular patching group experienced only modest visual improvement.

“The key to improving vision for adults, who currently have no other treatment options, was to set up conditions that would enable the two eyes to cooperate for the first time in a given task,” says senior author Robert Hess, PhD, DSc, director of research in the Department of Ophthalmology at McGill.

Li J, Thompson B, Deng D, et al. Dichoptic training enables the adult amblyopic brain to learn. Curr Biol. 2013 Apr 22;23 (8):R308-9.