MONTREAL -- According to Canadian doctors, playing the Tetris videogame is an effective way to treat lazy eye. A team at McGill University (Montreal) discovered that the popular tile-stacking puzzle can train both eyes to work together.
In a small study involving 18 adults, published in Current Biology, Tetris worked better than conventional patching of the "good" eye to make the weak one work harder. Next, researchers plan to test if it would be a good way to treat children with the same condition. UK studies are already underway. An estimated one in 50 children has lazy eye, known medically as amblyopia.
Tetris was originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in the Soviet Union. It was released on June 6, 1984. The game's name is derived from the Greek numerical prefix tetra -- all of the game's pieces contain four segments -- and tennis, Pajitnov's favorite sport. It was the first entertainment software to be exported from the USSR to the U.S. Atari sold it as an arcade game in the 1980s.