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Violent video games help ageing eyesight, says study

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A new study has revealed that playing violent video games can improve eyesight, and could even prevent one of the key effects of ageing vision.

Scientists in the US and Israel reached the surprising conclusion after noting that expert action game players had better contrast sensitivity than players of non-action video games.

Intrigued by the discovery, they carried out further research and found that practising violent action games which involve killing opponents actively enhances contrast sensitivity.

Contrast sensitivity - the ability to notice subtle changes of light and dark against a uniform background - declines with age and is also impaired by conditions such as amblyopia, also known as ‘lazy eye’.

The study revealed that the benefits of playing violent games lasted for months and, in some cases, years. Playing non-action games did not appear to have the same therapeutic effect.

‘To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to identify a training regimen that improves performance over nearly the entire CSF (contrast sensitivity function) in adults,’ the researchers wrote in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

‘More generally, our results establish that time spent in front of a computer screen is not necessarily detrimental to vision.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Video games for everything! Brain training one minute - eye training the next.

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  • The article in Nature Neuroscience doesn't mention "violent" video games, just "action" video games. The game titles mentioned as helping improve contrast sensitivity (Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament III) were chosen not because of their violent nature but because of "...requiring precise, visually guided aiming actions."

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