screenshot from "Halo 2"
Microsoft
updated 3/16/2007 12:40:33 PM ET 2007-03-16T16:40:33

Playing "Gears of War," "Lost Planet," "Halo" and other action video games that involve firing guns can improve your eyesight, new research claims.

Sedate games like "Tetris" don't work.

People who started out as non-gamers and then received 30 hours of training on first-person action video games showed a substantial increase in their ability to see objects accurately in a cluttered space, compared to non-gamers given the same test, said Daphne Bevelier of the University of Rochester.

Most aspects of vision have to do with the size of one's eye and the thickness and shape of the cornea and lens. But some visual defects are neural in nature, said Bevelier, author of the new study on vision and video games published in the journal Psychological Science.

First-person action games helped study subjects improve their spatial resolution, meaning their ability to clearly see small, closely packed together objects, such as letters, she said. Game-playing actually changes the way our brains process visual information.

"These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it," she said, in a prepared statement. "That learning carries over into other activities and possibly everyday life."

The finding suggests that playing first-person action video games could be a useful rehabilitation therapy for people with certain vision problems, she said, such as amblyopia (or lazy eye) and the simple effects of aging.

Another study has showed that playing certain virtual reality games that involved physical motion helped stroke victims improve their ability to walk eventually.

© 2012 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

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