Can Video Games Improve Vision?
For decades, video games have enthralled the masses with colorful characters, exciting action, and hours of entertainment. But, despite popular belief, did you know that playing certain video games could also improve your eyesight and help with some other vision impairments? What if we told you that playing video games could help to prevent the possibility of cataracts when you get older?
New research also shows that video games can help with hand and eye coordination, increase your brain activity, and even lessen the effects of dementia. Find out more about how playing Black Ops 4 can help your vision, along with other tips for healthy eyes.
Studies are Showing Promising Results
According to new research, it is possible to improve your eyesight by playing high-intensity video games, especially first-person shooters. Games like Halo and Medal of Honor were played during a study conducted by researcher Daphne Maurer of McMaster University in Canada. During the study, six patients ages 19-31 with bad vision and extensive cataract disorders were asked to play 40 hours of video games over a one month period.
These particular games were chosen because they require the player to pay attention to fast action and moving objects that dart quickly across the screen. After the testing period, five of the six patients acknowledged that their vision had improved and that they had a 30 percent increase in the ability to recognize faces, read small print, and track moving dots during tests. One of the reasons for the test was to prove that vision could improve even during older age, and when we play video games, our bodies experience a rise in adrenaline and dopamine which promotes extra brain activity that enhances visual acuity.
In addition to the McMaster University study, other trials have been completed to prove this theory, including some research with children with lazy eyes and other eye conditions obtained at birth. In these other trials, positive findings have found that video games require us to focus on the primary image while other details happen in the periphery and that they also present low and high contrast colors. All of these scenarios are helpful because, as Dr. Maurer states, when our brain works harder to follow what is happening then the “ brain may still be sufficiently plastic to allow remediation” of these eye conditions, even years later.
Incredible Benefits of Enjoying Video Games
While there are known downsides of gaming, such as unhealthy addiction and gaming disorders, there are several benefits associated with video games. Even those with 20/20 vision can see sharper with shooting games as they require players to constantly monitor the field, along with video games that allow camera shifting, which exercises players’ eyes with varying lines of sight.
The benefits of video games can be so incredible that they can even improve the brain health of those with dementia. In essence, when a person has dementia, their brain cells die off, and they lose many of their cognitive abilities. Dr. Tanya Petrovich from the group Alzheimer’s Australia believes that the effects of dementia can be lessened through activities that stimulate the brain.
The doctor has partnered with other researchers to create the Dementia Forest Project, which is a virtual game world that patients control with hand gestures. With a wave of a hand, they can control many aspects of the virtual forest, including the weather. After documenting their findings, the researchers have seen dementia patients become more responsive, and when they leave the simulation, they tend to remember many of the interactions that they experienced. These studies show that the visual stimulation offered by video games can have many beneficial effects.
Eye Health as You Age
Whether you enjoy video games or the great outdoors, it is crucial that you take care of your eyes, especially as you grow older. As we age, we are more susceptible to conditions such as presbyopia which affects our ability to see close items and print. Taking care of your eyes can also help your chances of avoiding cataracts, which currently half of seniors over the age of 75 have.
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When you are outside, avoid looking towards the sun, and get extra protection by wearing proper sunglasses. Overlong exposure to UV rays can essentially burn the cornea and conjunctiva inside of your eyes, which can lead to cataracts. Quell this issue by purchasing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVB and UVA rays.
No matter our age, most of us are slaves to our devices, which can be dangerous with the blue light that emits from computer and television screens. Keep your eyes safe by making it a habit to avert your gaze from the screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes and look at something at least 20 feet away. Believe it or not, you can also better your vision by maintaining good overall health with a balanced diet and avoiding smoking. Finally, don’t forget your annual eye exams.
The gift of good vision is not one that should be taken for granted. Whether you choose the latest shoot-em-up video game or just wear proper sunglasses, protect your eyes and see the colorful world properly for years to come.