A new study found that first person action games improved the vision of adult video game players. Two groups of patients were tested. The first group of patients played Call of Duty and experienced a significant increase in their ability to distinguish different shades of gray (contrast sensitivity function). The second group used The Sims, which was similar in it’s graphic detail however it is a non action game that does not require precise visual activities such as aiming.
Contrast sensitivity function is a measure of visual acuity (the chart on the wall that uses progressively smaller numbers is another, more common method, shown to the right) uses different shades of gray to evaluate a person’s vision rather than how small of a letter a person can read (the latter is called Snellen visual acuity. Contrast sensitivity is a much more precise way of evaluating a person’s visual acuity and is more often used in clinical research.
The exciting part of this study is that it has been previously thought that it was difficult to improve the vision in adults. This study paves the way for possible new treatments of amblyopia in children and the hope of retraining patients that may have lost vision due to some retinal conditions. The study showed that not all games are created equal in producing this affect and advised caution in recommending games to recommend to patients. The entire study was published online by the journal Nature Neuroscience.