Want to improve your eyesight? Fire up your gaming machine and start shooting the bad guys in action-packed video games. That's right, those grotesque, gratuitous, and gory shooter games may be an excellent tool for improving eyesight. The conclusion comes from a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, and was conducted by the University of Rochester.
According to the study, playing action-based video games improved the contrast sensitivity function (CSF) in test subjects. If you suffer from low contrast sensitivity it may be harder for you to see at night, pick out spots on clothing or pick up on facial expressions. Contrast sensitivity is also one of the most easily damaged functions of the human eye.
During the study one group of subjects played Activision's Call of Duty 2 or Atari's Unreal Tournament 2004, while another group played The Sims 2. Both groups had 50 hours of gaming time over nine weeks. By the end of the study, participants in the action group had noticeably improved their CSF, compared to those in the Sims 2 group.
The study also said the action group kept their improved CSF for months and sometimes even years. This is particularly encouraging news for those who suffer from decreased CSF, since previous methods of sight training didn't show dramatic signs of improvement and they didn't last. The results of this test are also similar to results discovered by the University of Rochester in a 2007 study, when test subjects reportedly improved their general eyesight by 20 percent after playing action-based video games.
However, like anything, video games may only be helpful in moderation. According to another study published by the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, sleep patterns, as well as verbal and cognitive abilities diminished in children after "excessive" gaming. Video games have also been accused of contributing to obesity, drug abuse and general poor health.
Then again, video games have also been credited for improving mental health and improving players' biology. This latest study may laud video games for improving eyesight, but who knows when another study will come along that completely debunks this one. The University of Rochester's study may also be of little use to you as a defense for your next Halo 3 marathon. The study cautions that "not all video games induce" noticeable benefits. In other words, only a doctor can tell you which games are improving your eyesight.