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The challenges of developing a contrast-based video game for treatment of amblyopia

Hussain, Zahra; Astle, Andrew T.; Webb, Ben S.; McGraw, Paul V.

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Zahra Hussain

Andrew T. Astle

Ben S. Webb

Professor of Visual Neuroscience


© 2014 Hussain, Astle, Webb and Mcgraw. Perceptual learning of visual tasks is emerging as a promising treatment for amblyopia, a developmental disorder of vision characterized by poor monocular visual acuity. The tasks tested thus far span the gamut from basic psychophysical discriminations to visually complex video games. One end of the spectrum offers precise control over stimulus parameters, whilst the other delivers the benefits of motivation and reward that sustain practice over long periods. Here, we combined the advantages of both approaches by developing a video game that trains contrast sensitivity, which in psychophysical experiments, is associated with significant improvements in visual acuity in amblyopia. Target contrast was varied adaptively in the game to derive a contrast threshold for each session. We tested the game on twenty amblyopic subjects (ten children and ten adults), who played at home using their amblyopic eye for an average of 37 sessions (approximately 11 hours). Contrast thresholds from the game improved reliably for adults but not for children. However, logMAR acuity improved for both groups (mean: 1.3 lines; range: 0- 3.6 lines). We present the rationale leading to the development of the game and describe the challenges of incorporating psychophysical methods into game-like settings.


Hussain, Z., Astle, A. T., Webb, B. S., & McGraw, P. V. (2014). The challenges of developing a contrast-based video game for treatment of amblyopia. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(OCT), Article 1210.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 3, 2014
Publication Date Nov 3, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 24, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 24, 2016
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue OCT
Article Number 1210
Keywords Anisometropia, Binocular, Contrast sensitivity, Development, Perceptual learning, Strabismus, Visual acuity
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. it is reproduced with permission.
Contract Date Oct 24, 2016


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