Friday, September 10, 2010

Video Games Good for Kids Vision

Video Games Good for Kids Vision

AmblyopiaKids plays Nintendo DS

Kids with Amblyopia can benefit from playing handheld video games such as the Nintendo DS daily. In late June 2010, 6 year old Ben Michaels of the UK, shared his story worldwide. The boy played Mario Kart every day with his brother and reported a 250% improvement in his vision after just a week.

While Ben's results and dramatic improvement may be out of this world, the concept of playing video games for Vision Therapy is not a new one for parents of children with Amblyopia. When my daughter was diagnosed with Amblyopia, one of the most recommended activities by other parents was "get her a Nintendo DS". We have integrated video game playing into her daily occlusion therapy routine with good results. [ABC News article interview]

Why choose the Nintendo DS?
While there are other portable and handheld gaming systems (like the PSP and even the Leapster for younger kids), the DS seems to be the most popular choice. Reasons to choose the DS would include portability, durability, lots of game selection, and affordability (of the games, accessories and console). Places like Gamestop offer used games and the ability for kids and parents to do trade-ins. With my 5 year old daughter, the DS is just the right size for use while patching. Gameplay requires kids to focus on the moving graphics on the 4 inch screen. Playing the DS also helps hand and eye coordination through manipulation of a small stylus as well as navigation and toggle buttons. For those who require a slightly larger portable gaming system - Nintendo offers the DSi XL which has a larger screen.

This article was orginally published (by me) at Bella Online Vision Issues

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