Video games can improve your vision, study finds

Playing high-action video games for a few hours each day can improve your vision, according to researchers in the U.S.

Playing high-action video games for a few hours each day can improve your vision, according to researchers in the U.S.

The researchers from the University of Rochester in New York found that people who play video games for a few hours a day over the course of a month can improve certain aspects of their vision by about 20 percent.

Playing the games changes the pathways in the brain responsible for visual processing, as the brain adapts to the additional pressure that playing such games puts on the visual system, they said.

The researchers found a group of students who played little or no video games -- which was a challenge in itself -- and gave them a test that measured how well they could discern the orientation of a letter "T" within a crowd of other, distracting symbols.

They then divided the students into two groups. One group was told to play the shoot-em-up game "Unreal Tournament" for an hour each day for a month, while a control group played "Tetris," a less visually complex game.

After about a month, the students playing the action game could determine the orientation of the "T" much more easily than before, while the Tetris players showed no improvement, the researchers said.

The T test measures visual acuity, or the clarity or clearness of a person's vision. The results suggest that people with visual defects could improve their visual acuity with special software that mimics the need to identify objects quickly in an action game, the researchers said.

The research, by professor of brain and cognitive sciences Daphne Bavelier and graduate student Shawn Green, is due to appear in next week's Psychological Science journal.

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