The Effect of Video Game Training on the Vision of Adults with Bilateral Deprivation Amblyopia

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  • 1 Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1, Canada
  • 2 Department of Ophthalmology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3 Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Amblyopia is a condition involving reduced acuity caused by abnormal visual input during a critical period beginning shortly after birth. Amblyopia is typically considered to be irreversible during adulthood. Here we provide the first demonstration that video game training can improve at least some aspects of the vision of adults with bilateral deprivation amblyopia caused by a history of bilateral congenital cataracts. Specifically, after 40 h of training over one month with an action video game, most patients showed improvement in one or both eyes on a wide variety of tasks including acuity, spatial contrast sensitivity, and sensitivity to global motion. As well, there was evidence of improvement in at least some patients for temporal contrast sensitivity, single letter acuity, crowding, and feature spacing in faces, but not for useful field of view. The results indicate that, long after the end of the critical period for damage, there is enough residual plasticity in the adult visual system to effect improvements, even in cases of deep amblyopia caused by early bilateral deprivation.

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