Playing video games is an exciting hobby for both kids and adults. Not only is it incredibly fun, it can actually have visual skills benefits. Many digital games can improve your visual reaction time, expand your visual attention, and train your eyes to see in more detail. All of these things are excellent skills for our modern digital world.
As most of us already know, there are downsides of excessive digital use. After about three hours, looking at screens can start to have negative side effects. The most common physical reaction for our eyes are blurring vision, watering, scratchy sensations, and even pain. Studies are also showing that children are developing myopia (nearsightedness) at earlier ages than ever before.
If that wasn’t enough, extended gaming time tends to interrupt otherwise healthy life habits. All that sitting means sedentary time increases while physical activity decreases contributing to the obesity epidemic. Long playing time without taking breaks often means you don’t blink as often as you usually would when not concentrating on a screen and your posture declines in the process. It also means lots of exposure to blue light which interrupts healthy sleep patterns – not to mention, players often stay up late to keep playing.
Computer Vision Syndrome & Digital Eye Strain
The discomfort from gaming is often called Computer Vision Syndrome or digital eye strain. It’s a group of symptoms that people experience from too much digital device use. Up to 90% of people – adults and kids – report having more than one of these uncomfortable symptoms. The small muscles in the eye that control focus, back and forth motion, and blinking get tired. The eyes react by sending pain and tiredness signals as well as overwatering or drying out.
As you can rightly guess, people who work at a computer all day are just as likely to suffer the same symptoms as those who play lots of video games. Those who work at computers and enjoy video games have the most to gain by managing digital discomfort.
Management and Relief
In particular, glasses with customized lenses can offer heavy digital users immense relief. These lenses can provide specialty coatings to block blue light and include anti-glare features that make your digital life much more comfortable. Even if you don’t need a prescription to correct your vision, these lenses can be a lifesaver at work and play. If you do wear prescription glasses already, customized computer lenses have the added advantage of having their focal point at exactly your computer screen distance.
In addition to customized lenses, you can also develop good gaming habits. One of the best is training yourself to blink every time you make an in-game action (like clinking the mouse). Taking consistent breaks is another great habit. Practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Longer breaks after three hours of play can also make a world of difference to your visual comfort.
Getting a good chair and sitting in it properly can go a long way, too. When using computers, keep your feet planted on the floor and the computer screen slightly below eye level. Bring the screen to you – don’t bring your face to the screen. Make sure you maintain a comfortable, upright posture. When it comes to light, having more than one source will reduce glare and strain. It’s recommended to have a light source behind you instead of above.
Love your game and maximize your score. Have fun and protect your eyes for a lifetime of enjoyment!