Video games have long been shown in the bad light, but a new study has something positive to say about them-they improve eyesight.
The new research led by Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester has shown that action video games such as first-person-shooter games improves the ability to discern fine differences in contrast by 58 percent.
"Normally, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery-somehow changing the optics of the eye," Nature quoted Bavelier as saying.
"But we've found that action video games train the brain to process the existing visual information more efficiently, and the improvements last for months after game play stopped," she added.
During the study, the researchers recruited 22 students and tested their contrast sensitivity function.
They were divided into two groups, one group played the action video games 'Unreal Tournament 2004' and 'Call of Duty 2' while the second group played "The Sims 2," which is a richly visual game, but does not include the level of visual-motor coordination of the other group's games.
The researchers found that students who played the action games showed an average 43pct improvement in their ability to discern close shades of gray, whereas the Sims players showed none.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that contrast sensitivity can be improved by simple training," said Bavelier.
"When people play action games, they're changing the brain's pathway responsible for visual processing.
"These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it, and we've seen the positive effect remains even two years after the training was over," she added.
The study appears in Nature Neuroscience.