Mobile devices have become so pervasive that the average American now spends more than ten hours per day on screens, at least one of which is spent playing video games. In this article, your neighborhood eye doctor, EyeSite of The Villages, discusses how video games might impact one’s vision.
Disadvantages and Advantages
Computer Vision Syndrome is the term used by the American Optometric Association to describe digital eye strain (CVS). Frequent use of digital gadgets has been associated with eye strain and dry eyes, as well as neck and shoulder problems. Video games require the eyes to focus on a variety of things simultaneously. When combined with glare and low screen contrast, extended periods of time need the eyes to work harder than normal. Use of digital gadgets frequently also increases exposure to blue light, which inhibits the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. This results in disrupted sleep patterns and sleep deprivation, which contributes to chronic exhaustion, daytime sleepiness, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
You may be shocked to learn that video games, when played responsibly, provide certain benefits. Certain studies have demonstrated that action-based video games aid in the development of eye-hand coordination, which is necessary for jobs like driving and surgery. Several vision therapists had effectively treated amblyopia with video games, a disorder in which vision is impeded or dimmed without obvious eye impairment. Again, these benefits are obtained only when video games are used sparingly. Additionally, it is beneficial to schedule an eye exam with an ophthalmologist at the first symptom of video game-induced eye strain.
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How to Reduce Strain on the Eyes
Because so many of our everyday duties are performed on computers, tablets, and smartphones, it’s difficult to avoid using one and so avoid CVS. However, there are several measures you may do to mitigate the effects of video games on your vision.
- The 20-20-20 Rule – Every twenty minutes, pause your game and look at someplace more than twenty feet away for twenty seconds. This assists in relaxing your eyes and preventing them from remaining in constant strain while you play.
- Reduce Glare – While playing in the dark or in direct sunshine, glare is increased. Indoors, with adequate lighting. Utilize glare-reducing screen coverings or coatings and anti-reflective eyewear.
- Limit Your Playing Hours – Avoid playing video games for extended periods of time. Three hours is considered an excessive amount of time.