A new vision app created by neuroscientists aims to help improve your vision.
Ever since video games became a common staple in adolescent life a few decades ago, many parents have wondered aloud about the danger that these computer images could have on their child’s eyes. After all, sitting in front of the television screen playing video games for hours and hours at a time couldn’t possibly be good for your vision, could it? Maybe not. But a new vision app created by neuroscientists at the University of California hopes to change that.
Aaron Seitz, a neuroscientists from the University of California, Riverside, one of the leading scientists behind this new app, is arguing that training your brain to adjust to changing vision is no different that exercising in order to make your body stronger or quicker. He suggests that you simply need to train your brain’s visual system to adapt to changes.
Seitz aims to do this through a new video-game inspired app called UltimEyes. Released last month, this new app tests for neuroplasticity, or how well our brain’s pathways change with our bodies and their surroundings over time. For instance, like when you complete certain visual exercises through the app that were designed to assess how well your brain’s visual system can react to specially designed cues.
The cues used within the app are called “targets” and “distractors.” These cues consist of different fuzzy bumps and circles that vary in their texture and depth on top of a gray screen. The game part of this app comes in when the app asks you to click on the set targets in order to earn points, but you lose points when you click on a distractor instead. Each level has different targets that vary in shape and size, in order to test a person’s visual acuity. Other levels have different levels on contrast, making the targets blend in with the background so that they are harder to differentiate from distractors.
“[They are] the kinds of stimuli that will excite cells in the visual cortex, so with repeated practice, you’re able to identify these when they are harder and harder to see, and, in that sense, you’re able to exercise those visual cells,” Seitz told Smithsonian Magazine.
In the groups that have tested the app so far, the results have been very promising. For instance, the first group that tested the app saw a 31% improvement in their vision after they had been using the app 4x a week for two months. They also saw varying improvements in low light vision, long vision and peripheral vision.
For those of us with less than perfect vision, where are choices currently consist of glasses, contacts or LASIK surgery to improve our eyesight, this is a huge development in the field of vision improvement. What do you think about using an app to improve your vision? Is this something that you would use if it was proven to have positive benefits? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.