A game designed to help people with amblyopia – Diplopia

Diplopia is a virtual reality game designed by James Blaha to help amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eye) using the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion controller.   James  put up his game on indiegogo.com crowdfunding platform and got over 20.000 Dollars funded – congratulations! I really like the social idea behind his work. Check out his project and preorder the game.

Go to http://diplopiagame.com to donate and find more information,


Strabismus, better known as crossed eye, is present in about 4% of children.  In those affected both eyes do not line up properly causing diplopia (double vision), amblyopia (lazy eye), and loss of vision in one or both eyes.   Since the brain receives conflicting information from the two eyes it often learns to disregard the weaker of the two, suppressing it.  This leads to a loss of depth perception and 3D vision.

It was long thought that once a person’s brain had learned to suppress one of their eyes that they could only unlearn this suppression before a “critical age” of between 8 and 12 years old.  Only recently has it been shown that certain kinds of therapies (including video games) can actually treat amblyopia past adolescence, allowing for the possibility of restoring 3D vision in adults.

Diplopia takes advantage of the wealth of new information in scientific studies that have come out in the past couple of years to create an experience that will hopefully help people who have a suppressed eye to use that eye in conjunction with their good one.

Whether you have amblyopia or not, Diplopia is a game that is fun and challenging to play for everyone.  All eye-training modes, Oculus Rift support, and Leap Motion control will be totally optional.

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The Game

Built for the Oculus Rift, and supporting 3D gesture control with the Leap Motion, Diplopia will be a totally immersive virtual reality experience.



In the game you bounce a ball around a room with a paddle to destroy blocks, unlocking power ups. By manipulating the contrast of game elements such as the bricks, ball, and paddle you can force the brain to integrate the two images.  By showing only some of the game elements to each eye Diplopia forces the player to incorporate information coming from both in order to win.


Here ‘Dilpopia Mode’ is enabled, the game shows the ball and bright bricks to the left eye while showing the paddle and dark bricks to the right. This forces the player’s brain to utilize both eyes to win.

These strategies have been used in treatments that have been shown to be up to 6 times more effective than the typical treatment, patching, which is often ineffective for children because of how extremely unpleasant it can be.  Diplopia will offer a fun, effective, alternative to patching that can keep the attention of a person long enough to help them.

I was told by doctors my whole life that I could never see in three dimensions like everyone else.  By backing this project you can give the gift of better vision to those of us who lack it.

Other Features

There will be several testing modes to measure suppression and the angle and type of offset between the eyes. Using these testing modes along with optional player surveys I hope to collect data about what techniques are best for treatment. This data would be released to the public after stripping all personal information from it.

There will be tests for color blindness, visual acuity (if resolution permits), and visual field as well.

Diplopia could be an improvement over other options because both the gameplay and the game are in 3 dimensions.  This means that you are training your eyes in an environment that is more like real life than a simple 2D game.  The ball is moving quickly in three dimensions, forcing the player to track it quickly to win.  This exercises the eye more than a slower paced game with less movement.

Supported Technologies

Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift makes it all possible.  It is a head-mounted virtual reality display which allows Diplopia to send different images to each eye.  You can play the game in ‘normal’ mode as a regular video game without a Rift, but you can’t use the ‘Diplopia’ mode to help with amblyopia unless you have one.   It really feels like you are inside of a new place when you are using it.

Leap Motion. The Leap Motion controller is a high resolution 3D gesture tracking device.  It can be difficult to find the keyboard and mouse while you are inside virtual reality.  Using a Leap Motion controller you can easily see your virtual hands to control things in the virtual environment, making it quite a bit easier.

Razer Hydra. The Razer Hydra is a motion tracked game controller with a joystick and several buttons.  This also solves the problem of finding your keys on the keyboard while in virtual reality, though it is more expensive and less useful than the Leap Motion outside of games.

nVidia 3D Vision. 3D Vision is a stereoscopic gaming kit from Nvidia which consists of LC shutter glasses and driver software which enables stereoscopic vision for any Direct3D game.  This will be an alternative to the Oculus Rift, but it is more expensive than the Rift.  If the $12,000 goal for 3D vision is exceeded Diplopia will support it.

Kinect. The Kinect is a full body motion capture device released by Microsoft. If the $15,000 goal is exceeded Diplopia will support it.

Virtuix Omni. The Omni is a virtual reality interface for moving freely and naturally in your favorite game.  It allows you to walk in place and have that movement translated into the game.  If the $30,000 stretch goal for the Omni is exceeded at least one of the mini games will support it.

Support For Diplopia

“Diplopia offers the potential for a whole new level in vision therapy training. Utilizing cutting edge technology and value as a driving force behind it’s clever design. I am very excited for this project.”
Sean Concannon, Eye Clinic Manager, Vision Therapy Assistant, Optician and OculusVR Developer.

What The Money Is For

The money will be used to pay for the Oculus Rift Development kit, art and assets for the game, and a Unity Pro license.  It will also be used for things like marketing, legal fees, and all the other costs that a video game start up will incur.

If the campaign exceeds $2000 the extra money will go to enhancing the artwork of the game, buying Oculus Rifts and Leap Motion controllers for testers, and marketing to reach a wider audience. [Goal Exceeded]

If the campaign exceeds $4,000 I will add support for the Razer Hydra. [Goal Exceeded]

If the campaign exceeds $8,000 I will hire another programmer and an artist to help get the game out faster.  [Goal Exceeded]

If the campaign exceeds $12,000 I will add support for nVidia 3D vision.

If the campaign exceeds $15,000 I will add a minigame and support the Kinect.

If the campaign exceeds $30,000 I will add three more minigames and support for the Virtuix Omni.

If the campaign exceeds $40,000 I will translate Diplopia into at least the following 5 languages: Spanish, Chinese, French, German, and Russian.  I will also add a poll to determine if there is interest in supporting more languages.

Note: The $400 perk, “Help Someone In Need!” provides an Oculus Rift for a low income and/or high need individual, it doesn’t buy the backer a Rift.

I am not a doctor. Diplopia has not yet been proven to help those with amblyopia. Consult your eye doctor before playing Diplopia. For more information and references contact me here, on facebook, or @jamesblaha.