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Video games improve eyesight, says new study

 

NEW YORK: Video game enthusiasts have good enough reason to rejoice. A recent study has found that games that contain high levels of action are indeed beneficial to the visual cortex, the portion of the brain that controls eyesight.

The study carried out at the University of Rochester showed that people who played such action games for a couple of hours a day improved their vision by 20 per cent over a month.

The scientists at the university examined the eyesight of non-video game playing students at the university and tracked changes that happened after they started playing either Unreal Tournament or Tetris, for several hours a day for over a month. Players who were put on Unreal Tournament were found to fare better than Tetris players in post-tests and they showed improvement in their peripheral vision.

Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the university, says action video game play changes the way human brains process visual information. These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it. That learning carries over into other activities and possibly everyday life.

Bavelier says the improvement was seen both in the part of the visual field where video game players typically play, and also beyond - the part of your vision beyond the monitor. The students' vision improved in the center and at the periphery where they had not been "trained." This would suggest that people with visual deficits, such as amblyopic patients, may also be able to gain an increase in their visual acuity with special rehabilitation software that reproduces an action game's need to identify objects very quickly.

The study is being published in the journal Psychological Science.

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