Brain stimulation 'can help to sharpen vision'

1 July 2016

A new study has indicated that electrical stimulation of the brain could be an effective method of improving a person's vision.

The Vanderbilt University research saw 20 young, healthy subjects with normal or near-normal vision were asked to evaluate the relative position of two identical vertical lines and judge whether they were perfectly aligned.

A  very mild electric current was passed through the area at the back of the brain that processes visual information for 20 minutes. After this, the subjects were asked to perform the test again, revealing that around 75 percent showed measurable improvement.

The vision improvements lasted for about two hours, with the results showing that those with worse vision at the outset saw the greatest improvement.

It is thought that the electrical stimulation could work by boosting the visual signals so certain neurons can process them more rapidly, while it also may be possible that the technique introduces white noise to the visual system, drowning out extraneous information and helping the brain capture visual information more easily.

Lead author Robert Reinhart, an incoming assistant professor at the department of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, said: "Now we have a new tool that could be valuable for researchers investigating fundamental questions about how the visual system works."

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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