As we grow older, there are many factors that contribute to our difficulty seeing in the dark. A few of the reasons include a reduction in pupil size, loss of accommodative function, and a dramatic slowing in dark adaption due to delayed rhodopsin regeneration. Well, there now may be a reason for hope... and the encouraging answer comes from action-based video games..
The Bavelier lab found first that players of action-based video games were better than non-video game players at contrast sensitivity (58% better). Next, they found that a fairly short course of action-based video game training could improve contrast sensitivity 43%s. In the picture above, see how much a 58% improvement contrast sensitivity can help...
From the University of Rochester:
" 'Normally, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery—somehow changing the optics of the eye," says Bavelier. "But we've found that action video games train the brain to process the existing visual information more efficiently, and the improvements last for months after game play stopped.' "
Playing action games Call of Duty 2 or Unreal Tournament 2004 improved contrast sensitivity, whereas playing Sims 2 (non-action game) for the same amount of time did not. Test subjects played 50 hours over 9 weeks.
"At the end of the training, the students who played the action games showed an average 43% improvement in their ability to discern close shades of gray—close to the difference she had previously observed between game players and non-game players—whereas the Sims players showed none."
The researchers are hoping that the ability to train contrast sensitivity will help kids and adults with amblyopia (lazy eye) regain their vision.