Nightly News   |  April 25, 2013

Video game eye exam saving children’s vision

Up to one in four children in America have an undiagnosed vision disorder. An eye surgeon says he’s found a better way, a revolutionary new exam. NBC’s Diana Alvear reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight they say one kid in four in the u.s. has an undiagnosed eye problem. tonight's big idea , part of a new series of reports comes from a surgeon who thinks he has found a better way. his story tonight from diana alviar.

>> for the first five years of his life this was hunter vogel's world. he passed two standard eye exams but mom tiffany, a school nurse , was worried.

>> i knew something wasn't right.

>> reporter: then he attempted a new vision test . a different result.

>> he failed it all which was good. it was kind of an answer to, wait a minute, maybe he's not seeing.

>> reporter: not only could he not see clearly the test showed he had a serious degenerative eye disease .

>> what's more heartbreaking is to be told your child is fine over and over again but find out they have a problem and now they are too old to treat it.

>> reporter: he tecreated eye spy 2020 .

>> i never expected to hear kids say, "can i play it again."

>>> to kids it's a game.

>> we get to jump over an alligator with a rope.

>> reporter: a patch isolates the eye for an accurate exam and a pair of 3-d glasses tests depth perception in stereo vision .

>> looks like red, sometimes blue.

>> reporter: this nonprofit tested children like these in phoenix. identifying those whose vision problems might otherwise go untreated.

>> as soon as a child has been put into a pair of glasses, everything for that child changes. their behavior, their confidence, their self-esteem.

>> reporter: hunter's case goes beyond glasses. every day his mom patches his left eye to strengthen the right.

>> if i don't wear the patch every day, i might get blind. i don't want to get blind or i'll be sad.

>> reporter: his vision improved so much he can now play soccer. a bright future, one he sees clearly thanks to a simple game saving children's vision. nbc news, phoenix.