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Does Gaming Damage Eye Sight?

Parents around the world admonish their children for spending too much time playing video games.

One of the most revered reasons is the possibility of eye damage. We understand that gaming is known to modify reaction time and even alter visual attentiveness, but consider the possibility that gaming can actually improve eye function.

There is a difference in video game styles known as action and non-action video game players. Studies have shown that action video game playing greatly improves many states of vision including low-level vision. Many of the factors that influence the improvement come from cerebral mechanisms that gamers learn to control through the very process of playing a game. Gamers learn to enhance the game playing experience by controlling or altering their surroundings and perceptions where possible to maximize their ability to beat the game.

External noise exclusion and internal noise reduction is part of the concentration process. When gamers are “in the zone” experiencing a high level of concentration, noise is channeled appropriately by the brain into relevant and irrelevant divisions. The strengthening of this cognitive “muscle” allows the gamer to process visual information more effectively and apply the training to other conditions outside of a gaming environment.

There is evidence to suggest that this kind of brain training can impact both adults and children, which is an important note since, for many years, the adult brain was perceived as fixed in a neural organization. We now understand that the brain is a fantastic organism that can reassign sensory data to fit current conditions and make up for lack of other sensory data. While trained or learned perception from most stimuli has not been documented as constant across all tasks and activities a person with low-level vision might be presented, it is suggested that players of action video games specifically, might experience improvements across the spectrum. Action video games require selecting a target amongst distractions, attention to the peripheral field, tracking of multiple targets and fast visual to motor coordination.

All of these skills directly impact perceptual learning and how the brain perceives stimuli and thus opens the door to a more permanent modification of visual perception or how someone sees and experiences the world around them. There are many sensible reasons to limit the amount of video game play we indulge in. And of course children should be monitored and introduced to many forms of stimuli but considering the probable positive impact of action video gaming, don’t beat yourself up too hard next time you log in to your World of Warcraft account or your child requests just five more minutes of HALO. To schedule an appointment today, visit us at