Today, I’ll dive back into concerning video games because there’s a subject that caught my attention. Part of the debate concerning video games is how it affects our eyes. I don’t have any studies to back up my theories, only experience and what I have heard or read over the years as well as trying to recall biology from a long time ago. It’s an interesting area because studies support both arguments that they are good or bad. So this is an attempt to try and decipher how that can be (and maybe how we can make it only benefits).
The first thing to address is how it could possibly be bad for your eyesight. The reasons would be the same for TV, computer usage, and even book reading in general. If we use them late at night or in not properly lighted spaces, we could be hurting our eyesight. My theory for this is that we are confusing our rods and cones (the receptors in our eyes). If the rest of the room is dark, then we are probably going to be overloading the ones that are used in the dark.
Another problem would be forgetting to blink. This would cause some strain on the eye. One thing to realize is that we are looking straight at a light source, so not only would this confuse our eyes, we also dry them out. Another theory I have is that we don’t really change focus and since we might forget to blink, our muscles tighten up.
Now in relation with the focus, I have already mentioned. This is the same as with book reading when we don’t shift focus, but only concentrate on the 2D plane. As said before, the problem would be the improper exercise of our eye muscles. Though, if something is not in proper focus or good quality, we might also overwork our muscles.
One section to consider is why we think it’s bad for our eyesight. I think part of the idea came with the association of games (and computers back in the day) with nerds and geeks who, stereotypically, wore glasses. There’s also the connection that the kids who had these would play for far too long. I think these images got so ingrained within our minds, that the effects of such associations still lingers with us, even as these things become common for everyone.
Now to address the benefits for eyesight. I recall reading a long time ago how people who played first person shooters like Call of Duty had better vision and were able to perceive small details and movements easily. I think the nature of those games make sense how they would train these aspects of vision.
Another benefit I think games like Call of Duty have is the 3D world. Games that allow you to be able to shift focus, by simulating depth, help you properly exercise your eyes. By changing focus, we naturally blink more too, so this addresses dryness as well.
I also heard that these kind of games helped people to distinguish colors more. I think the reason would be is that the environments created in video games tend not to be bland and stable. Something is generally happening all the time, especially in the more recent games. So players learn to become more aware of the details in what they can see. This probably also helps with peripheral vision too.
There is one other thing I was thinking about. I think 3D world games help with hand-eye coordination when it comes to depth. For a long time, I heard the idea that you lose depth perception if you only have one eye, but I didn’t seem to have a problem when I tested that theory. I could play tennis just as well as when both eyes are open. I think it’s because 3D game worlds simulate depth, but unable to make it actual. I know that may not make sense, so I’ll try a different explanation.
In a game set in a 3D environment, especially First Person games, you see the world, but the true depth perception granted by having two eyes, cannot be replicated unless you get a good and recently made Nintendo 3DS game, or play on a 3D TV. So this actually trained us to be able to act without proper depth perception.