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Why Gamers Should Care About Eye Health?

  Written By: Priyanshu Sagar
Updated On: 03/18/2024
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

It’s common for gamers to spend long hours in front of desktop monitors or television screens. With the rise of mobile gaming and the normalization of smartphones, digital screen time has increased rapidly compared to rates from previous decades.

With so many cross-platform games available today, it has become easy and convenient to switch from one digital screen to another, whether you’re gaming on mobile, PC, or console. However, it’s important not to overlook your eye health.

A study on gaming eye strain saw participants report various physical and ocular symptoms due to prolonged gaming sessions. This included eye strain, ocular symptoms like fatigue and dryness, and distorted vision after the gaming session.

The study also notes a significant decrease in blinking rate during gaming. This can be detrimental to your eye health, as blinking is crucial for maintaining a healthy tear film and preventing dryness.

Most who reported reduced blinking rate also reported ocular fatigue and tired eyes, in addition to experiencing dryness and irritation. This doesn’t mean you should stop gaming entirely.

Fortunately, we can implement certain daily practices in our gaming routine to mitigate potential harm to eye health. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the vision-related factors to watch out for when gaming and how we can best protect ourselves from them:

Blue light exposure

Blue light is emitted from the sun, our digital screens, and other artificial light sources like LED lighting. Study results on the topic tend to conflict with one another.

While some experts claim that blue light exposure isn’t harmful enough, there is also evidence that blue light can cause retinal cell damage and other ocular health issues like cataracts. Some researchers also believe prolonged blue light exposure can negatively impact sleep quality.

Fortunately, investing in blue light glasses can help protect your eyes. Today, you can get prescription blue-violet light glasses designed to protect your eyes from blue light and UV rays while providing vision correction.

Blue light glasses are also a great middle-ground for wearing sunglasses when it’s too dim. However, note that blue light glasses provide a slight yellow tint and can make colors appear warmer.

If accurate color perception is crucial for your gaming experience, like competitive shooters where you need to see enemies clearly, you may want to check how intense the yellow tint will be.

Computer vision syndrome

Another factor to look out for is computer vision syndrome (CVS), which is defined as a collection of eye and vision problems experienced during computer use. Researchers also call this condition digital eye strain (DES).

Some symptoms related to computer vision syndrome include blurred vision, visual fatigue or discomfort, dry eyes, redness, and irritation. CVS also manifests beyond your eyes and vision, leading to headaches and shoulder, neck, or back pain.

Unfortunately, CVS is a common phenomenon among passionate gamers. Researchers found that factors associated with CVS include poor sitting position, inappropriate eye-to-screen distance, improper viewing angles, and poor lighting.

So, adjust your gaming environment to be as optimal and ergonomic as possible next time you’re gearing up for a ranked grind or a challenging completionist achievement.

For example, avoid gaming in dark rooms and remember to sit back occasionally instead of hunching over your controller or keyboard.

Eye Health: Dry eyes

Finally, as discussed in our introduction, long gaming sessions can also lead to dry eyes. This may be because, as research has indicated, we tend to blink less when we’re too focused on what’s on the screen and for long periods.

Dry eyes may also occur when a screen is too bright or when we play in too dim or dark environments, as our eyes start to strain to see more clearly and maintain focus.

Fortunately, there are many ways to mitigate this. To keep your eyes lubricated, you should take regular breaks off-screen between gaming sessions. This will protect your eyes from bright screens and constant visual motion.

You can also purchase eye drops, although you should only use ones advised by eye doctors to prevent potential bacterial infection. If you’re unsure about an over-the-counter eye drop, it’s always best to ask an expert.