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Six-Year-Old Boy Uses Nintendo DS to Regain Eyesight

photo of ben michaels with nintendo dsEver since the age of four, Ben Michaels has suffered from amblyopia, or severe lazy eye syndrome, in his right eye. The condition gradually weakened the eye's vision, and when Ben was at the tender age of six, was at risk of permanent blindness. Desperate, Ben's mother Maxine sought the advice of Ken Nischal, a consultant at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Nischal's professional recommendation? A steady diet of Nintendo DS.

Following the consultant's strange advice, Ben's mom "forced" her son to spend two hours a day playing 'Mario Kart,' and made sure that he did so while wearing an eyepatch over his left (and healthy) eye, in order to better train his right. Traditional medicine it's not, but, according to Maxine, her son's vision "improved 250-percent" in just the first week of heavy gaming. "When he started, he could not identify our faces with his weak eye," she told the Daily Mail. "Now he can read with it although he is still a way off where he ought to be."

So what's the scientific explanation for Nintendo's healing ability? Nischal claims that video games may improve eyesight by forcing a player's eyes to engage in more rapid eye movement, although he admits that isolating a pure video game effect remains difficult. "What we don't know is whether improvement is solely because of improved compliance, i.e. the child sticks with the patch more, or whether there is a physiological improvement from perceptual visual learning," Nischal explained. So, Nintendo may not be the miracle worker fanboys think it is -- but at least we know what to do the next time our vision goes blurry after reading Switched posts for 12 straight hours. [From: DailyMail, via: Neatorama]

Tags: blindness, eye, eyesight, health, LazyEye, medical, nintendo, NintendoDs, top, VideoGames, vision

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