For six year old Ben Michaels nothing could be more welcome than his recent therapy regime. He was detected with a problem in his eyesight by a school nurse from the age of four. On examination he was found to have a lazy right eye or amblyopia. Left untreated it would have lost him his vision completely.
However instead of patching up his eye Dr Ken Nischal, ophthalmic surgeon at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, recommended he play a Nintendo DS or Game Boy for two hours a day. His improvement was recorded to be 250 percent.
Ben is from Billericay in Essex, southern England and was a part of a new study at the London clinic with 60 other children. Dr Nischal said patching the eye was one approach and we deduced that making the eye do a repetitive task like a video game could be another approach. He went on to explain, “I then deduced that a game such as Nintendo or Game Boy would reproduce a similar effect, in that it involves concentrating on small figures, in a repetitive task, which gives positive feedback to the child… This child’s vision has dramatically improved and given previous attempts at patching was unsuccessful, the outcome is quite striking.”
According to Ben’s mum, Maxine Michels, “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.”