A video game that can assist in early detection of glaucoma developed by Japanese university

*in-development footage Image Credit: Sendai Television

Sendai Television has announced Meteor Blaster, a mobile game that can assist in the early detection of glaucoma. A demo version is currently available as a browser game for iOS and Android.

Meteor Blaster is a shooting game set in outer space. The game provides a simple evaluation on the condition of the player’s field of vision by spending a total of only 5 mins working with each eye. It is quick and easy to play, and not only does it measure your field of vision, but it can also help in the early detection of glaucoma. The results provided by the game can also be used for evaluation purposes when consulting a medical specialist.

The game is played in a first-person perspective, and players use a beam cannon to destroy meteorites that close in on the center of the screen. When meteorites enter your crosshairs, they can be destroyed by tapping the SHOOT button on the lower right, and the CAPTURE button on the lower left can be used to collect spheres of light that occasionally flash for brief moments. Players are required to keep the screen at a distance of 30 cm away while playing and must play with one eye at a time.

Meteor Blaster is being jointly developed by Sendai Television and the Tohoku University School of Medicine. They have already patented the game in Japan and aim to further expand its functionality with the intent to promote the importance of eye health through e-sports. The plan is to cooperate with a variety of businesses, organizations, and industries.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve which gradually narrows a person’s field of vision and can eventually lead to complete loss of sight. In Japan, it is currently the most common cause of blindness. However, if the condition is detected early and appropriate treatment is undertaken, then it is possible to slow or stop the progression of the disease and preserve one’s vision.

Patients often don’t notice any symptoms during the early stages of glaucoma, and there are many cases where the disease has already progressed by the time a patient notices issues with their eyesight and undergoes an examination. Meteor Blaster can evaluate a player’s ability to react to objects located on the outer portion of the screen (the spheres of light) while they are focused on the center.

The game is said to make it possible to gather information that can evaluate one’s field of vision in a simpler and more accurate manner than pre-existing methods. This can also help contribute to the early detection of glaucoma.

The demo version of Meteor Blaster is currently available in Japanese via the game’s official site. It includes four stages in total, with two stages for each eye, and can be played on Safari (iOS 14 and up) or Chrome (Android 8.0 and up) web browsers.

Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-09-03 11:26 JST)