s having 20/20 vision a thing of the past for you? Are you tired of wearing glasses or contact lenses, but don’t want to resort to surgery? If that is the case, then you may want to try your hand at setting up a gaming console, and start getting into video games.
A recent study conducted by McMaster University psychologist Dr. Daphne Maurer in Vancouver, Canada shows evidence that playing video games may actually just help improve and reverse failing eyesight in adults who were born with congenital cataracts.
Dr. Maurer, who is globally known for her work on the phenomena of synasthetes, or the ability of certain individuals whose brains enable them to perceive and link different senses together (associating a certain sound with a certain color, for example), presented these findings recently to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The experiment was initially conducted on six adults between the ages of 19 to 31 who had been born with the condition, and were asked to go on a program that tasked them to play first-person shooting games, which involved the use of strategy, vigilance, and attention to detail for a period of 10 hours weekly for four weeks.
Once the prescribed period was over, those who participated in the study showed a marked improvement in terms of being able to detect subtle differences in contrasts, focusing and following small moving objects, and reading fine print. This, Dr. Maurer says, is proof of the adult brain’s continuing malleability, in the sense that it can still be conditioned to work around pre-existing sensory deficiencies.
These results support earlier findings that playing certain kinds of video games can help correct other eye conditions and disorders such as ambylopia, more popularly known as lazy eye. Towards the end of 2011, Dr. Somen Ghosh at the Micro Surgical Eye Clinic in Calcutta, India, published reports that pre-teens and teenagers between the ages of 10 to 18 who had lazy eye have likewise experienced an improvement in their condition after a regimen of video games administered over time.
Meanwhile, in the United States, another study conducted by Dr. Daphne Bavelier at the University of Rochester in New York likewise showed that undergoing a video game program helped people who experienced difficulties in night driving.
These results, Dr. Bavelier said, show that the brain’s pathways for visual processing can still be challenged, “pushing the human visual system to the limits and allowing the brain to adapt to it.”