The average American spends over 10 hours a day using a device with a screen, with at least one hour spent on playing video games. In this blog, your local optometrist Eyes on Norbeck discusses how playing video games can affect your vision.
Computer Vision Syndrome
The American Optometric Association came up with the name Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) to refer to the type of eye strain caused by digital devices. Frequent use of digital devices have been found to cause dry eyes, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Video games force the eyes to focus on many things at once, which, when combined with screen glare and low contrast, makes the eyes to work harder than normal for extended periods.
Blue light is a spectrum of visible light that inhibits the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Sunlight is an abundant source of blue light, and its absence during the night is what regulates sleep hours. Frequent use of digital devices disrupts the release of melatonin, resulting in delayed sleep times that lead to sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue. Some people become more susceptible to Type 2 diabetes as a result of sleep deprivation. Today, there are prescription eyeglasses that filter blue light, which are ideal for those who must use digital devices on a daily basis, such as for work.
Benefits of Playing Video Games
Video games offer certain benefits, if played in moderation. Studies have shown that action-based video games help improve eye-hand coordination, an essential skill for tasks such as driving and surgery. Video games have also been used by vision therapists to treat amblyopia, a condition where vision is dimmed or impaired without apparent physical damage.
How to Reduce Eye Strain
The following are some of the ways you can reduce eye strain from playing video games:
The 20-20-20 Rule — Pause the game every 20 minutes, then look at something more than 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps relax your eyes and not stay in constant strain as you play.
Reduce Glare — Play your games indoors where there’s proper lighting. Playing in the dark or in sunlight increases exposure to glare, which can be reduced using glare-reducing screen covers or coatings..
Limit Your Playing Hours — Limit your playing time to less than three hours a day.
If you are feeling symptoms of eye strain, call Eyes on Norbeck at (301) 241-0553 to schedule an eye exam. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Potomac, MD, and surrounding areas.