Ubisoft has blended the worlds of play and health care by unveiling a tablet video game on Tuesday which is crafted as a prescription for an ocular condition known as amblyopia or 'lazy eye'. The France-based video game titan created 'Dig Rush' in collaboration with US health technology start up Amblyotech, using treatment technology patented by innovators at Canada's McGill University.
Amblyopia is a condition in which a person's eye and brain are out of sync and if left untreated, people with the condition can go blind in one eye. It is reported to affect three percent of the global population. Amblyotech chief executive Joseph Koziak said, "Amblyopia involves one eye being far less useful than the other, creating a situation in which the brain responds by suppressing visual input from a weak eye and relying on the strong eye. Relying on one eye results in people losing depth perception. When you look at a person who has it, one eye is visually misaligned as compared to the other. The traditional monicker is 'lazy eye'."
The game requires both eyes to take part in order to effectively play the game. Characters, equipment and scenes set on a gray background are either red or blue, and players have to wear glasses that filter out one color or the other depending on the eye. Ubisoft senior producer Mathieu Ferland said, "The only way to play this game is to force the patient to use two eyes. This treatment is reconditioning the brain to use both eyes. This is a good demonstration of the positive impact that video game technology can have on our society."
Amblyotech chief operating officer Robert Derricotte revealed that testing has shown 'Dig Rush' to be about 90 percent effective in improving vision of those with the condition. Derricotte said, "Current treatments are relatively ineffective and involve providing a patch to cover a person's dominant eye to force the weaker eye to work with the brain, but still leave a patient without 3D perception. This is a game changer. Doctors have been patching patients for over 200 years; this is a radical new way to treat Amblyopia."
Pricing for the game is yet to be announced. Amblyotech is seeking approval from US health regulators to have 'Dig Rush' be prescribed by doctors.