Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Doctors Told This Man His Vision Would Never Improve; He Decided to See for Himself

September 3, 2014
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Doctors Told This Man His Vision Would Never Improve; He Decided to See for Himself
James Blaha started Diplopia to develop his video game, which will help people overcome lifelong disabilities. BagoGames/Flickr Creative Commons
This video game designer is helping people overcome lifelong disabilities.

Play a video game long enough and you might get pretty good at it: post a new high score, reach a new level — or reverse a supposedly incurable birth defect.

That’s the payoff promised by a new game developed by young entrepreneur James Blaha.

When he was 9 or 10 years old, doctors told Blaha that he’d never be able to correct his lazy eye and thus, never be able to see in true stereo vision, according to Daily Motion. Because of a condition he was born with, Blaha lived his life in a flat world, seeing only in two dimensions. He was told the condition was irreversible.

Then, inspired by a TED talk about teaching adults with eye problems to perceive in 3-D, Blaha decided try it for himself, by employing his skills as a programmer.

He developed a video game to strengthen his weaker eye with Oculus Rift virtual-reality goggles. The game takes advantage of the fact that the goggles show each eye a separate image. By dimming the image in the user’s strong eye, Blaha’s game can force the player’s brain to use the weaker eye — strengthening it and training both eyes to work together.

Blaha says his game worked: For the first time, the world around him started to “pop” into three dimensions. He’s started a company, Diplopia, to further develop his video game and to help other people overcome lifelong disabilities. Earlier this year, Blaha raised over $20,000 through a crowdsourced fundraising campaign, convincing hundreds of people to kick in some money.

Clearly, they saw his potential and supported his (now 3-D) vision.

MORE: This Man Was Born Blind, But That Doesn’t Stop Him From Teaching Children to Read

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