-by Dr. Daniel Sullivan
Game Playing

The creator of hit video games Assassins Creed and Far Cry has partnered with medical applications developer Amblyotech to design a video game to treat amblyopia.

The first-of-its-kind game, which has been named Dig Rush, is based on a patented method of treating the eye condition which is also known as ‘lazy eye’ and is estimated to affect one in 50 children.

Dig Rush is designed for use on a tablet and will train an amblyopia sufferer's weak and strong eyes at the same time, in order to improve the brain's ability to compensate for and improve the weaker of the two.

Using inventions that were initially patented by a team of six academics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Ubisoft is now applying gameplay principals to the methods to create what it says is an “entertaining method that can improve patients’ engagement and experience during amblyopia therapy.”

CEO of Amblyotech, Joseph Koziak, said: “While current treatment options, such as eye patching, provide limited relief and have poor patient compliance due to discomfort and social stigmas, the Amblyotech-patented electronic therapy has been tested clinically to significantly increase the visual acuity of both children and adults who suffer from this condition, without the use of an eye patch.

“With our agreement with Ubisoft, we are further able to provide physicians with a complete and accurate picture of treatment compliance to help them monitor patient progress throughout therapy.”

Amblyotech will shortly seek clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market the game in the US.

Commenting on the new game, senior producer at Ubisoft, Mathieu Ferland, said: “The development of Dig Rush was a great opportunity for us to contribute our knowledge and skills in video game development to help materialise a breakthrough novel medical treatment.

“The team from Ubisoft Montreal has been able to create a more engaging and enjoyable experience for patients being treated for amblyopia, and we’re proud to be involved in such a positive illustration of the impact of video game technology.”

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