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Mario Kart saves child's eyesight

3:00 AM on 06.28.2010 // Matthew Razak

Here's a bit of good videogame news to start your work week out with. A child from Billericay, Essex, had his eyesight saved by playing Mario Kart for two hours every day. Six-year-old Ben Michaels suffered from amblyopia, a severe lazy eye syndrome, in his right eye from the age of four. His doctor recommended him to a specialist who in turned recommended he played Mario Kart on his DS for two hours every day while wearing a patch over his dominant eye. This would, evidently, strengthen the weakened eye.

This works because (a) children want to play videogames so they actually participate in the treatment and (b) because videogames encourage repetitive eye movement, which trains the eye to focus correctly. Ben's mother claims that his eyesight has improved 250 percent since he started playing Mario Kart and that his ability to hit a bitch with a green shell from three places behind has skyrocketed up 1 bajillion percent.

The consultant who prescribed the therapy does admit that they aren't sure what is really at work when children play games to improve their eyesight. "What we don’t know is whether improvement is solely because of improved compliance, i.e. the child sticks with the patch more, or whether there is a physiological improvement from perceptual visual learning," he told the Daily Mail.

Who cares about the why of it, though. I'm going to drive over to my parents house and tell my mom that sitting too close to the TV was actually good for me this entire time. Sweet vindication!

Matthew Razak, Contributor
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