Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Action Video Games May Boost Vision

Study Findings Could Inspire New Software to Retrain Brain, Rehabilitate Vision
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 8, 2007 -- Action video games may sharpen vision by helping players learn to ignore visual distractions.

So say University of Rochester brain and cognitive science researchers Daphne Bavelier, PhD and C. Shawn Green, a graduate student.

They found that novice video game players improved their ability to ignore visual clutter by about 15% to 20% after playing an action video game for 30 hours over four to six weeks.

But don't toss out your glasses just yet.

The improvements were "very, very small because we're looking at people that already have very, very good vision," Bavelier tells WebMD.

"We're looking at measures that you probably won't pick up if you were to just go to your optometrist and have an eye test," she says.

"People think that they're going to replace their prescription lenses with video games -- no, no, no! This is not what this is about," Bavelier says.

Video Game Study

Bavelier and Green studied 32 undergraduates who weren't video game players when the study started.

First, the students looked for the letter "T" written right-side-up or upside-down amidst various amounts of visual clutter on a computer screen. The students were timed as they noted whether the "T" was right-side-up or upside-down.

Next, the researchers randomly assigned the students to play one of two video games for four to six weeks.

One of the games was the action game Unreal Tournament 2004. The other students played Tetris, which isn't an action game.

About the Games

Unreal Tournament has "a lot richer visual environment than Tetris," Bavelier says.

With Unreal Tournament, "you have to analyze the visual field all the time for new visual cues. You don't know where they may be. You don't know when they may appear. You don't know which shape they're going to be," she says.

"In Tetris, you're also on your toes, because you have to go fast," she says. "You have to rotate shapes, but you only have one shape present at a time, and the analysis you have to do is mostly in terms of mental rotation, but you have very little analysis of the visual field."

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
Understanding Stye
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop