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Charlie Ngo, Truyet Tran, Calvin Nguyen, Dennis Levi, Roger Li; Videogame Experience Enhances Temporal Visual Attention in Adult Amblyopia: The Attentional Blink in Amblyopia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):570.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Amblyopia causes deficits in spatial and temporal vision. Our recent findings have shown that videogame training induces a generalized recovery of spatial visual functions in amblyopic patients. Here we investigated whether playing videogames enhances temporal visual attention in adult amblyopia. When visual targets are presented in rapid succession, correct identification of the first target can interfere with identification of the second. This second-target deficit is known as the attentional blink. This phenomenon has often been explained on the basis of an “attentional bottleneck” (i.e., a processing stage that can handle only one item at a time). Amblyopes show an abnormal attentional blink with their amblyopic eye.
We measured the attentional blink in each eye of 11 adults with amblyopia, before and after 40 hours of videogame play, using a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) technique. The observer had two tasks: (1) To identify a white letter (T1) randomly positioned in a temporal sequence of black letters and (2) to detect the presence of a black letter “X” (T2), which was presented in half of the trials at a random temporal position after T1 (lag=1-8; lag 1: “X” was the first letter to appear after T1; each letter frame was 100 ms). Additional random letters were added to the end of the sequence.
Prior to videogame play the shape of the mean baseline attentional blink curve (probability of correct T2 report vs time after T1) of the amblyopic eyes was slightly shallower than that of the fellow preferred eyes, as reported by Popple & Levi, 2008). After 40 hours of videogame play, we observed a 22% improvement (reduction) in the attentional blink (identifying T2 200 ms after T1) seen through the amblyopic eye.
Our findings suggest that videogame play improves temporal visual attention in adult amblyopia. Importantly, this videogame training technique might be useful in combination with other vision therapy regimens and induce visual plasticity in cortical visual disorders.
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