Vision enhancement

According to research conducted at the University of Rochester, video games that involve high levels of action increase a player’s vision.

The ability to discern slight differences in shades of grey has long been thought to be one attribute of the human visual system that cannot be improved.

But Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, has discovered that very practiced action gamers become 58 per cent better at perceiving fine differences in contrast.

Bavelier said: ‘Normally, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery – somehow changing the optics of the eye. But we have found that action video games train the brain to process the existing visual information more efficiently, and the improvements last for months after game play stopped.’

Bavelier says that the findings suggest that, despite the many concerns about the effects of action video games and the time spent in front of a computer screen, this time may not necessarily be harmful, at least for vision.

The research was funded by the US National Eye Institute and the Office of Naval Research.