Video games improve your sight

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Yes, this game improves your eyesight.

And now we have proof. One more nail in the coffin of the silly idea that video games are bad for you. Quoth the article:
...playing action video games can also alter the brain, especially circuits involved in vision, attention and other skills you bring to bear when you play games such as Halo or Call of Duty 2. But in a study being published online this afternoon in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists are reporting that playing action video games improves an aspect of vision that was thought to be pretty much fixed—namely, contrast sensitivity.

That’s the ability to detect tiny changes in shades of gray against a uniform background, and is something you need to deploy when driving at night or in poor-visibility conditions. You lose it with age, but amblyopia (“lazy eye”) can also impair contrast sensitivity. The only way to fix, supposedly, is with glasses or surgery.

But maybe not. Expert action-video-game players, Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester and colleagues find in the new study, have better contrast sensitivity than people who play non-action video games. To make sure that that correlation did not reflect a tendency for people with sharp contrast sensitivity to gravitate toward action games more than people with poor contrast sensitivity do, the scientists gave the non-players intensive daily practice in playing action games. After 50 hours of play spread over 9 weeks, these players’ contrast sensitivity improved. There was no such improvement after playing non-action video games such as Sims.

The pdf isn't loading for me right now but my guess is that your average first-person shooter provides the most benefit, something like Castlevania would give a bit less (in a first-person shooter you often find yourself straining to see the other player in order to get a jump on him and thus your eyes are busier), and as indicated above Sims and the rest don't do anything.


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