Pilot study shows the potential benefits of video games for visually-impaired children

Eyelander concept artwork

 

Results from a pioneering video game study, developed by an Exeter charity to help children and young people with visual field loss caused by brain injury, have been announced in a leading academic journal.

Scientists from institutions including WESC Foundation (the south west’s specialist centre for visual impairment) and the University of Lincoln found that progress made from rehabilitating adults with more traditional therapies can be replicated in children by using a specially-designed computer game. Results from the pilot study were published in the American Foundation for the Blind’s Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. The paper is freely available to read online.

The project was designed to test the potential for recovering visual field loss in young people caused by cerebral vision impairment, as Dr Jonathan Waddington, research scientist at WESC Foundation, explains:

“We know that rehabilitation training can help adults with this type of visual impairment improve their sight, but the training has always failed to engage children and young people.

“We wanted to find out whether making the compensatory training more fun would see children continue to use the game, and ultimately see an improvement in visual outcomes.”

Eyelander was developed by WESC Foundation along with colleagues from the University of Lincoln, game developer Mutant Labs, and local digital agency D2 Creative.

A public version of the game is now available to play for free online.

Date Posted: 19/02/2019

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