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Videogames potential benefit to eyesight - study

Mon 30 Mar 2009 8:32am GMT / 4:32am EDT / 1:32am PDT

US study suggests improvement in contrast detection after significant play time

Action-based videogames could improve users eyesight, suggests a recent study conducted by the University of Rochester, potentially indicating a new way to treat poor vision.

The small study, conducted on 22 students divided into two groups, indicated that those who played Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004 experienced a 43-58 percent improvement in their ability to discern subtle shades of gray.

Subjects which played The Sims 2, a much more casual game, showed no improvement. The study was conducted over a period of nine weeks, with each group playing 50 hours of their assigned games.

"Normally, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery - somehow changing the optics of the eye," said Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester, New York, according to Reuters.

"But we've found that action videogames train the brain to process the existing visual information more efficiently, and the improvements last for months after game play stopped."

"When people play action games, they're changing the brain's pathway responsible for visual processing. These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it."

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