Have you ever been told that sitting too close to the TV will ruin your eyesight? That advice is actually outdated now that television technology has advanced enough to include proper shielding between radiation and your eyes. These days, planting your face directly in front of the TV or computer doesn’t hurt your vision, and if there’s a fun Mystery game on the tube, it might even get you to see in 20/20!’
New research has discovered that video games can be used to treat bilateral deprivation amblyopia in adults (amblyopia is a fancy name for “lazy eye”). The condition often manifests in early childhood and reduces the individual’s ability to see in detail. Typical treatments for the condition continue until age six to seven because it was previously thought to be untreatable after that.
The study tested individuals after they had played the first-person shooter Medal of Honor for 40 hours over the course of a month. Although not every case resulted in improvement, the study resulted in an average 30 percent increase in visual acuity (the ability to see detail). Hey, 30 percent isn’t bad for a condition that was formerly thought to be untreatable!
“The results indicate that 40 [hours] of playing an action video game is sufficient to induce some improvement in the visual perception of adults with bilateral deprivation amblyopia,” the research report stated. “This is the ﬁrst demonstration in humans that some recovery from deprivation amblyopia is possible even in adulthood, long after the end of the critical period during which the system can be damaged by abnormal input.”
And if you thought the good news ended there, the research has another exciting piece of information. Researchers didn’t just pull random treatments out of a hat. They based the idea for the treatment on previous studies that found playing action video games improved the eyesight of people with normal vision. The report noted that future research should be done to identify the crucial elements of an effective video game, but vision in individuals playing both action and social games improved significantly. So, if you’re not among the 3 percent of the adult population with amblyopia, you can still benefit from a healthy regime of free online games!