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Playing shooters is good for your eyes?

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A Canadian research team has shown that playing first-person-shooters (or other action games) could potentially potentially correct impaired vision.

Before you throw away your eyeglasses and dive in to a marathon Call of Duty session, there are a few caveats.

According to Digitaltrends, In a study of patients with a specific  and rare cataract eye disorder, patients aged between 19 and 31 were made to play Medal of Honor for 40 hours; two hours a day, five days each week.

At the end of the trial, patients showed improvements to their eyesight –  equivalent to reading two extra lines on an eye chart. They became better better at recognising faces, reading small print and judging the direction of moving dots. Now before you get excited, realise that this study was hardly conclusive – just 6 patients made up the trial, although 5 of those six did notice improvement.

“About two-thirds of the things we measured improved simply from playing an action videogame,” said Daphne Maurer of McMaster University in Canada. “I think it tells us that the visual nervous system is still plastic enough to either form or reveal connections in adulthood, and we suspect that might be true for any kind of visual defect.”

The reason for the improvement, she says, is the increases in levels of dopamine and adrenaline in players’ brains, which makes primes the brain for fixin’.

“It is also called adrenaline for action, because you not only have to make a judgment based on what is going on on the screen but you have to act on it and you have to act on it from a real world perspective. So we think the manufacturers built into these games the effective ingredients for retraining the visual brain in adulthood,” she said.

There’s also the very real possibility the results are fake – because I know if you made me play Medal of Honor for forty hours, I’d lie just to make to it stop. Still, the University is so please with the results that its planning on creating its own, non-violent game to help improve suffers eyes.

Image Credit : Timothy Searles

Last Updated: February 20, 2012

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