Board games are a dying relic of our culture. The “gaming” industry today is dominated by video games, smartphone apps and virtual reality simulations that allow gamers to immerse themselves into worlds that defy physics and normal imagination. The advancements in the industry are arriving at such an alarming pace; new technologies seem to be a monthly occurrence.
Today, there are professional video game players that get paid hefty sponsorship checks and earn money directly related to the number of viewers that watch them play. We as a society continue to test the limits of what is possible when it comes to gaming experiences and the future is truly exciting.
However, with such advances in the mind-blowing gaming technology there comes a few downsides, as one could expect. Companies do everything they can to try and captivate their customer for as long as possible and it is a common thing to hear that someone spends hours at a time playing the same game. Aside from the obvious health concerns related to a sedentary lifestyle, playing video games present a less commonly thought of side effect.
However, some parents may ask, “does playing video games damage your eyes?”
Vision problems that arise from excessive amounts of video games have gained credibility with this video gaming obsession. It may not be much of a surprise to think that staring at a computer, television or smartphone screen could cause vision problems but they are becoming more and more popular.
There are several concerns associated with prolonged video game playing and some should not be ignored. It can lead to several of the same issues that long-term television watching or computer use can cause such as headaches, blurred vision, and even nearsightedness.
Another serious implication of extended video game playing can cause symptoms that are very similar to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS is caused by staring at computer screens for extended periods of time without significant breaks and cause symptoms such as blurry vision, eye irritation, light sensitivity, and neck/shoulder pain.
Video games present an even greater risk for users because they are often filled with flashing lights, colors, and rapidly changing screens, which puts more stress on the eyes to keep up with the inundated amount of images.
The good news is that these symptoms, for the most part, are relatively avoidable if the proper precautions are taken to help care for your vision and should be taken before you end up asking, “are video games bad for your eyes?”. Minimizing the impact that video games have on your eyes can be very simple but often neglected until your vision becomes an issue.
Here are some simple steps that you can follow to help protect your eyesight while enjoying your favorite video game.
- Positioning — sitting too close is one of the biggest culprits. Make sure to position yourself far enough away from the screen, typically six to 10 feet is a good place to start. However, this distance all depends on the size of the screen (bigger=further away).
- Frequent Breaks — most eye doctors suggest taking a break every 20–30 minutes. To maximize the productivity of the break, make sure that you look off at a distance that is further than what the screen was so that it can give your eyes time to rest and recover. Avoid trying to focus on specific objects because your eyes are stressed to focus intently during gaming sessions. In the eye health field, the 10–10-10 rule is often suggested as well. This means that every 10 minutes focus on an object that is further than 10 feet away for at least 10 seconds.
- Glare and Lighting — it might be very tempting to turn off all the lights to set the atmosphere for a gaming session but that is actually very bad for your vision. Drastic contrasts in lighting (TV to surrounding room) cause your eyes to work much harder to process the extreme differences in contrast. The same goes for lighting that causes glares. To avoid these problems, make sure that you play your games in a well-lit room.
As mentioned above, nearsightedness can be an extreme result of excessive video game playing but if you happen to notice a decrease in the quality of your vision and want to make a change, contact us at Diamond Vision.
We provide the latest techniques for vision correction and our staff of award-winning surgeons offer the very best solutions for vision errors. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.