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Playing computer games has long-been thought to reduce vision and make eyesight worse. However, some games buck the trend, as they have been found to improve eyesight in visually impaired children.
Scientists at the University of Rochester and Vanderbilt University have discovered that playing children-friendly action games for eight hours can make kids with visual defects exercise their peripheral vision, which they often do not use effectively.
Duje Tadin, from the University of Rochester, said: “This is problematic because visual periphery, which plays a critical role in mobility and other visual functions, is often less affected by visual impairments.”
They asked 24 children from the Tennessee and Oklahoma Schools for the Blind to take part in the experiment. They were divided into three groups, one which played a game much like Tetris; one which played a child-friend action video game (AVG); and one that used the game created by the scientists.
Those playing the two latter games for eight hours were shown to have experienced visual improvements, being able to perceive moving objects, and find things in clustered scenes.
As AVG have been known to improve visual perception, the researchers created a game that combines these components to encourage players to utilise their entire visual field.
According to the lead author of the study, Jeffrey Nyquist, founder and chief executive of NeuroTrainer, the scientists were “surprised” by the results.
He added: “We were even more surprised when we tested a few of the students a year later and found that the gains they made were stable.”
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