A dichoptic custom-made action video game as a treatment for adult amblyopia

Indu Vedamurthy, Mor Nahum, Samuel J. Huang, Frank Zheng, Jessica Bayliss, Daphne Bavelier, Dennis M. Levi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Previous studies have employed different experimental approaches to enhance visual function in adults with amblyopia including perceptual learning, videogame play, and dichoptic training. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of a novel dichoptic action videogame combining all three approaches. This experimental intervention was compared to a conventional, yet unstudied method of supervised occlusion while watching movies.Adults with unilateral amblyopia were assigned to either play the dichoptic action game (n=23; 'game' group), or to watch movies monocularly while the fellow eye was patched (n=15; 'movies' group) for a total of 40. hours.Following training, visual acuity (VA) improved on average by ≈0.14. logMAR (≈28%) in the game group, with improvements noted in both anisometropic and strabismic patients. This improvement is similar to that obtained following perceptual learning, video game play or dichoptic training. Surprisingly, patients with anisometropic amblyopia in the movies group showed similar improvement, revealing a greater impact of supervised occlusion in adults than typically thought. Stereoacuity, reading speed, and contrast sensitivity improved more for game group participants compared with movies group participants. Most improvements were largely retained following a 2-month no-contact period.This novel video game, which combines action gaming, perceptual learning and dichoptic presentation, results in VA improvements equivalent to those previously documented with each of these techniques alone. Our game intervention led to greater improvement than control training in a variety of visual functions, thus suggesting that this approach has promise for the treatment of adult amblyopia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalVision Research
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
IV and MN share co-first authorship. Study design and conceptualization: DB & DL; Video Game Development and Design: primarily JB with contributions from DB, IV and DL; Video Game play test during game development: IV and SH with contributions from DB & DL & MN; Piloting and fine-tuning of vision experiments: primarily IV with contributions of MN, FZ and SH; Running the Study: IV, MN, FZ and SH; Data analysis: MN &IV; Writing: primarily MN with all authors contributing. Finally, this work could not have happened without the support of Drs. Gearinger and DePaolis who referred patients to our study. We thank Grants from the National Eye Institute #R01s EY020976 to DL and DB, Grant EY016880 to DB and P30EY001319 to the Center for Visual Science at Rochester .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Amblyopia
  • Perceptual learning
  • Stereopsis
  • Suppression
  • Videogames
  • Visual acuity


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