Scientists from Nottingham have announced that they've drafted in some expert help with I-BiT, a research project seeking to treat lazy eye with video games and specially designed 3D glasses. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is to adapt some popular PlayStation 3 titles as part of the ongoing project.

The standard treatment of lazy eye (or amblyopia) requires children to wear an eye patch over their good eye for hundreds of hours. According to project leader Alex Foss of Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, the treatment can be ineffective, in part because children are reluctant to actually wear the patch. Video games, being fun, are a very different story, and Foss reports that "a marked improvement has been seen after only a few half-hour sessions."

The child wears a pair of so-called shutter glasses. The good eye is shown static content, such as the background, whereas the eye in need of treatment is shown the dynamic stuff going on in the foreground. The player perceives a single unified image.

The Wellcome Trust is funding clinical trials of the technology, which it's hoped will be used at opticians and eye clinics, and eventually, perhaps, distributed for use at home.

"The development of games and other technologies by Sony will take the I-BiT project to a new level," said Sue Cobb, an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham. "We are all very excited about the potential impact that this will have in improving the treatment of amblyopia."

The research is being carried out by the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

Source: University of Nottingham