Study: Video games may improve vision

First-person shooters singled out for potential therapeutic benefits.

178 Comments

Video games have racked up their fair share of controversy over the years, with some saying that they desensitize people to violence, others claiming they warrant their own health warning labels, and yet others labeling them a public health threat.

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However, there are also a number of studies that extol the positive effects of games. Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York have announced findings claiming that playing games, specifically those oriented around action, improve contrast sensitivity function (CSF); that is, the ability to detect subtle differences in shades of grey.

While the same researchers had previously found that games improved visual acuity and peripheral vision, the ability to improve contrast sensitivity is significant, given that it was previously held among the scientific community that it could not be improved. CSF ability is often affected by old age or amblyopia--commonly known as lazy eye. Previously, it was possible to ease the symptoms only with glasses or surgery, rather than address the root cause by improving the performance of the eye itself.

The research focused on 13 individuals split into two groups playing video games for a total of 50 hours over nine weeks. One group was given action games, including Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament, whilst the other played non-action games, which do not require such precise gameplay actions, such as The Sims.

Those in the action group showed a 43 percent improvement in CSF compared to those in the non-action group, whose average was 11 percent. More startlingly, the effect was said to last for months, even after the games themselves had stopped being played.

Researcher Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, was understandably pleased with the results of the study. "Video game training...may become a useful complement to eye-correction techniques that are routinely used in the clinic to improve eyesight," she said. However, she also noted that "not all video games induce such a benefit, calling for special care in the choice of a clinically relevant training regimen."

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ActionFactor

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Unreal Tournaments got me straight :P lol

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Dima2000

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NICE!!! No wonder I never needed glasses haha...

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L0rD_ShAde

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cool. Medicine Prescription - play crysis and halo3 before breakfast, GTA 4 after lunch and Call of duty 4 and CS before and after dinner. lol.

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emkplayboy6

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PS3 Rules!

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optiow

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That is quite an interesting find.

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Wings_008

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cool, then if you're old and your vision is deteriorating then you should play Crysis two houres a day before sleep.

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digitalgawd

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hahaha, if you woulda played for 4 hrs you coulda seen it from 8 miles, i did.

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_ERT_

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After i played call of duty 4 for 2 hours, i can see a bird from 2 miles !!!!

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chikkkenbutt

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Great effin news! my eyesight is terrible! but for all of those that still may not believe this, I learned from my optometrist that your vision is affected by your eye size. my eyes keep growing larger making me more narrow-sighted. Games don't do too much except maybe put some extra strain on your eyes. I've also noticed that after playing fps's, my awareness about my surroundings and my responses to visual stimulation is much stronger and quicker. Thanks gamespot. We gamers rule.

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tonyhawksP8

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50 hours over nine weeks is that all, I can play RtS for 2 hours then play an hour online fps then 2 hours offline fps and more.

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Gezquester

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Video games! Theyre not all bad! Pick up Halo now, youll see better!

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jtthegame316

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wow are they sayin playing xbox might actually be cureing my lazy eye but on the other had it april the 1st so the story could be an april fool lol.

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prioritymail

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This is just the excuse I need to play more xbox!

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Wej_accept_it

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Boo yeah, FPSs FTW

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doobie1975

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my April fool senses are tingelling

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shakensparco

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I think it only works for darker games with more gray. CoD and Unreal are much darker compared to games like Halo which has lots of vibrant colors. So as they said, not every game will work. Just play lots of GoW which has every shade of gray immaginable! (lol!)

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tawagivercetti

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It all makes sense now...lol. In a private study conducted by me I found that GTA games actually increase sociopathism by 66.6 percent.

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everettseanw

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I've played video games for 9 years, and my eyesight is fine.

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godoo

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i was reading some of the comments...to me it just sounds like it was chance that those people had better eye sight.... im also one of the cases where my eyes have gotten worse with playing games, i dont think it has anything to do with games...reflexes and ability to notice detail but the actual sight is just in your DNA or w/e its like some people have a stigmitizum and some dont

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Cpalberg

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haha this is awesome, i cant wait to tell my dad. hes an ophthalmologist

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hi-buzz

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I believe this is absolutely true...mine is a perfect 20/20 been playing games for quit a while now...more kudos to the video games industry....baby !!!!!!

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adityafunda

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and my specs keep getting thicker

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sdkingsht

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NO FANBOYISM IN THIS POST...this is a victory for ALL GAMERS...all fanboys in this thread should be shot and drug out on sight! :lol:

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sdkingsht

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another victory for gamers...we truly are the $#!t...lol...it's just taking the world forever to catch up...

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alvaro706

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I´m playing games for more than 20 years... and my vision still perfect... the doctor say that

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sirbalynn

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lol gamers FTW

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MrNib

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I guess its a good thing that im getting back into Counter-Strike.

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DeanoFantasy

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Its nice to hear this.

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Mr_Versipellis

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Why such old games lol? Strapped for cash? :-)

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Hitch_Blade_VII

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I just know that i'm more aware of things around me in real life after playing any fps like when im driving or watching for people around because you never when someone might cap you in the head!

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ninja_where

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I think the opposite worked on me...or maybe not. I was having bad vision already and then by playing video games, I got myself glasses because of the bad vision. Hey! My vision got better by playing video games!

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giuse92

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lol. I must have an eagle eye then hahaha, i play like 4 hours a day :D

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Joshy485

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did they use a high def or standard def tv? Im thinking a highdef cuz standard def can hurt the eyes a bit.

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frano911

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i feel bad for the guys having to play sims insted of cod

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nf1994

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I can understand how that works. but 50 hours over nine weeks isn't very much; less than an hour a day.

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ace-of-spades93

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so how come i end up with box glasses.

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mophl

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I've noticed that people that play video games have far better reflexes when driving compared to those who don't

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n4m3l335

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I play a lot of COD4 and Halo 3, along with CSS and TF2. My vision is almost second to none.

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RDrayMan101

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i dunno guys, i play mostly Call of Duty 4, and i'm WAY more sensative to movement now (can sense an ant crawling around five feet to my left out of the corner of my eye), of course i also have ocd and tourettes, so i'm kinda already sensative to movement.

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surreal_blue

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Just imagine a future optometrist: " I am going to write you a perscription for Gears of War 2 followed by a healthy dose of Call of Duty 4."You must play at least 6 hours of gaming a week to see positive results.

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sgt-hawkins

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i just wonder if these people normally play games

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bannaguy

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there is an eye training game for the ds which is supposed to improve your eyes reflexes.

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bannaguy

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i play games for 50 hours in 1 day!

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Dareitus

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I was born with a lazy eye that was deemed uncorrectable. I was told I would never have depth perception amongst many other problems. I started gaming around age 4 and have been gaming in excess ever since. When I took my flight physical as part of my enlistment into the military it was found that I had exceptional vision in my good eye, normal vision in my "bad eye", and had developed a sort of adaptive depth perception. High speed objects like baseball pitches are still hard as hell for me to see but normal depth perception seems to be fine, even though I was told I would never have it, even after 6 surgeries as a child. Wonder if all my gaming has something to do with this? Edited for Spelling.

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DarkFadi

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So anyone having any improvement?

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jazilla

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it improves the soreness of my butt and extremities too.

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02cfranklin

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Yet I play games A LOT and my eyes have never improved.. Last time I visited SpecSavers I had to get stronger glasses...

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techpunk

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50 hours over nine weeks? Noobs.

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gamerkiduri

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gaming is my life so i dnt care if it improves or destroys my eyes

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