Video game to detect early stages of glaucoma developed by Tohoku University

Spray meteorites with a giant laser… for your health!

Many of us kids have probably been scolded for playing too many video games with threats to “destroy your eyesight.” There is still some debate whether this is true or false, but a new game has been developed that could definitely save people’s eyesight.

Meteor Blaster is a simple browser-based shooter for smartphones developed by Sendai Television and Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. It was patented last July and should help people spot early symptoms of glaucoma just by playing for five minutes.

The best way to access the game is by using this QR code. You will need to turn your smartphone sideways for it to charge properly

Image: Sendai Television

To play, simply hold the smartphone about 30 centimeters (one foot) from your face and use the stationary laser cannon to fire meteoroids as they float through your crosshairs. At a time white dots will appear on the screen, at this time you need to press the “CAPTURE” button for interstellar reasons beyond our meager earthly understanding.

Since the game rates your eyesight, be sure to use the recommended screen distance

Image: @Press

After going through four stages, Meteor Blaster then gives you a glimpse of your vision in each eye. The screen is divided into 16 sections and each area is given a score of one to five, with one being excellent and five being very poor when it comes to the ability of each of your eyes to detect things.

Left eye results: “The number of lights captured is fantastic. Do your best to keep this condition!

Image: © SoraNews24

Right eye results: Although both were good, it was interesting to see that my left eye was noticeably stronger

Image: © SoraNews24

If scores of five appear, it could be a sign of the early stages of glaucoma and you should consult an expert. Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerves that starts out small but gets progressively worse if left undetected. It’s surprisingly common with around one in 20 people over the age of 40 suffering from it.

What’s even scarier is that it’s the leading cause of blindness in Japan, largely because people don’t notice it early enough to seek treatment. Professor Toru Nakazawa, who helped develop Meteor Blaster, said: “Glaucoma is a disease that is difficult to notice. There are about 4.65 million sick people in Japan, but about 90% do not go to hospital.

I’m going to interrupt this important health information for a moment to show you all my sweet score. I would have done better but a fly flew in my face during the third stage.

Image: © SoraNews24

Professor Nakazawa adds: “If glaucoma is detected at an early stage, treatment is more effective and in many cases blindness does not occur. By the time this becomes noticeable in your daily life, it is often too late.

The game is a really good idea that costs nothing and takes very little time, but can save you a lot of heartache down the road. Online comments were also very enthusiastic about the game, with some knowing all too well the silent dangers of glaucoma.

“This is amazing!”
“People tend to confuse glaucoma with loss of sight due to old age.”
“Eye clinics and eyewear stores should have the game in their waiting rooms.”
“Glaucoma can make you blind even if you have perfect vision.”
“What a great use of technology.”
“Finally a game I can convince my parents to play.”
“Unbelievable that they can detect glaucoma with a game.”
“I have glaucoma in one eye and I can’t see well. I wish I’d known sooner…”
“The level four music is surprisingly good.”

I was also a bit surprised at the production value of this game, perhaps due to Sendai Television’s involvement in its creation. A representative for the broadcaster said he was happy to help reverse the stigma that games are bad for eyesight and hoped to extend it to promoting eye health in other ways as well.

It is certainly a great development to use video games as a diagnostic tool and to improve our health. I’m really hoping someone can come up with an upcoming kidney stone detection game so I can pop those suckers before they become a problem as well.

Source: Meteor Blaster, Sendai Television, The Sankei News, Hachima Kiko, @Press
Top image: @Presse
● Want to be up to date with the latest articles from SoraNews24 as soon as they are published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

About Shelly Evans

Check Also

10 Things Fans Should Know About The WWE All Stars Video Game

All WWE Stars was released on March 29, 2011 for seventh generation consoles, and it …