In partnership with Amblyotech, Inc., Ubisoft is creating the very first video game to treat amblyopia, more commonly known as “Lazy Eye.” The game, titled Dig Rush, uses a patented treatment method as part of its therapeutic gameplay.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lazy eye is the top reason for “declining vision” among children. It is also not as easy to detect because not all people who suffer from amblyopia have a physically noticeable lazy eye. Although the weaker eye is prone to wandering, not all patients with amblyopia display a physical abnormality.
Treatment for lazy eye can be a challenge, particularly due to compliance. Joseph Koziak, CEO of Amblyotech, notes on the official UbiBlog that Dig Rush could help improve that particular issue.
“While current treatment options, such as eye patching, provide limited relief and have poor patient compliance due to discomfort and social stigmas, the Amblyotech-patented electronic therapy has been tested clinically to significantly increase the visual acuity of both children and adults who suffer from this condition without the use of an eye patch. With our agreement with Ubisoft, we are further able to provide physicians with a complete and accurate picture of treatment compliance to help them monitor patient progress throughout therapy.”
Unlike other treatment options, like eye patching, that focus on strengthening the weaker eye by limiting access to the stronger eye, Dig Rush actually helps train the brain to use both eyes. The UbiBlog post further details how the patient plays the game wearing stereoscopic (3D) glasses. As red and blue objects appear on screen, both eyes must work together to successfully see the game’s visuals and play the game.
Since every patient’s eye condition is unique, Dig Rush also includes options and settings for physicians. Since it is a treatment requiring a physician to review and improve settings for optimal results, a prescription will be mandatory to receive access. The Wall Street Journal also notes the recommended treatment plan is one hour a day, every day for four to six weeks.
As revolutionary as Dig Rush may be, its availability is pending approval from the FDA in the United States and similar clearances worldwide. Once the necessary approvals are obtained, Ubisoft will release the game as a treatment option globally. As a developer and publisher, Ubisoft is perhaps most recognized as the company behind popular video game franchises that include Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Let’s Dance and Rayman.