A new app that aims to use brain training to improve users' vision has been proven to have "real world benefits", according to a recent study by researchers in California.
Neuroscientist Aaron Seitz from the University of California tested the app Ultimeyes on the UC Riverside baseball team, reporting the findings in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology.
According to the research, the visual activity of players using the app for eight weeks increased by 31 per cent.
Among the benefits reported were the ability to see better in lower light conditions and improved peripheral vision.
After using the app, the team had 4.4 per cent fewer strikeouts, scored 41 more runs and won four more matches than the previous period.
"I didn't think we would see as much of an improvement as we did," said UCR's head baseball coach Doug Smith. "Our guys stopped swinging at some pitches and started hitting at others."
Rather than exercising the eye or its surrounding muscles, the app works using a concept called neuroplasticity – essentially rewiring the brain.
"Within the last decade or so we've started to learn that brain fitness is a bit akin to physical fitness," Seitz told Popular Mechanics. "If we exercise our brain in the proper ways, pretty much everything that the brain does should be able to be improved."
It is still not fully understood why neuroplasticity works, though Seitz is currently working on ways to "address an entire suite of issues", including improved memory.