I have seen most households having kids playing games on mobile phones all the time. The problem now has risen to the level that not only they are hurting their eyes but are getting poor grades.
While playing video games for a couple of hours straight is harmful especially for the kids, playing in moderation with precautions can actually help their eyesight.
Anything excessive is bad for health and playing video games is included in it. Here in this short post, you will get an overview of some eye problems related to video games and how you can avoid them with some precautions and good practices.
Statistics and data
According to a recent report, the video games user penetration rate in the US is projected to reach up to 49.18% by 2025 which is approximately 5% more than what it was in 2017. In just 4 years, it reached 47.75% in 2020 from 44.57% in 2017 which tells us how fast the gaming industry is booming1)https://www.statista.com/statistics/460135/digital-games-user-penetration-digital-market-outlook-usa/.
The industry is said to be worth $159.3 billion in 2020 while it is projected to be around $200 billion by 20232)https://www.wepc.com/statistics/pc-gaming/. Currently, we have 2.7 billion gamers around the world which is up from 2.2 billion in 2018. If we talk about the age of an average gamer, gamers with the age 18-34 make up 38% of the total gamers around the world followed by the 26% share by gamers of age 34-54 years and 21% by gamers under 18 years3)https://www.statista.com/statistics/189582/age-of-us-video-game-players-since-2010/.
These numbers are important to consider as the increasing number of people sitting in front of the screen is directly proportional to the increasing number of eye-related problems.
Looking at the screen for too long can result in irritation in the eyes or Eyestrain. If a person looking at the screen has his eyes locked on to the screen for a long time, it may result in problem of focusing on other objects4)https://www.verywellhealth.com/playing-video-games-may-cause-eyestrain-3421596.
Kids blink lesser than adults while gaming which can result in dryness or irritation. While gaming, the eyes constantly change the focus from one object to another which causes eyestrain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome5)https://www.essilorusa.com/newsroom/are-video-games-bad-for-your-eyes. These are some of the most common problems gamers have to face.
What damages the eye?
As mentioned above, eyestrain and irritation are common problems when a person plays video games for a long time but these are not the only causes that damage the eyes.
Blue Light is amongst the worst enemies of eyes which can permanently damage the eye retina. Blue light is among the components of white light having the shortest wavelength yet has the most energy6)https://preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes/.
Computer monitors, mobile phones, tablets etc. have more blue light component than red which means the eyes are exposed to more energy.
Blue Light is present in the Sunlight, CFLs, LED lights and in the computer monitors, mobile phones and laptop screens. While eyes are very much effective in blocking the ultraviolet rays to reach the retina, Blue Light easily passes through the cornea and lens7)https://www.allaboutvision.com/en-in/digital-devices/blue-light/.
How to take care of your eyes while gaming?
If you are an enthusiast gamer and don’t want your eyes to be permanently damaged, you can protect your eyes with some precautions. As 43% of adults’ work requires long usage of computer or tablets8)https://marveloptics.com/blog/eyeglass-fashion-and-trends/3-differences-between-anti-glare-and-blue-cut-lenses/, and then there are active streamers who stream for a couple of hours straight, it’s not practical for them to sit in sets of 15-20 minutes especially when the game session is online.
For reducing the light glare, use Anti-Glare glasses to reduce eyestrain. For most gamers, these are ideal for long gaming sessions and if you face irritation in the eyes or macular degeneration as a result of Blue Light, it’s better to use Blue Cut Lenses which absorb 10-90% of the Blue Light depending upon the brand.
For those who play offline games, it’s recommended to take a 5-minutes break after every 20 minutes of gaming. To avoid eyestrain, you should blink more often and wear anti-glare or blue cut glasses all the time during gaming.
For an active gamer, it’s recommended to take a break after every set of online gaming which may last somewhere from half an hour to over 1 hour and the longer the session is, the larger the break should be.
Some monitors come with eye care feature such as blue light filter which filters some blue light to avoid eyestrain. Also, lowering down the brightness while maintaining the room lights will help reducing the glare.
You should also make sure that you have a comfortable ergonomic chair with lumbar support to avoid lower back pain and your hands and wrists should be completely resting on your chair handrest and desk.
Remember that gaming is not bad if done in moderation and is actually helpful in improving eyesight because your eyes are trained to track several objects and can keep up with a series of fast-moving events9)https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2009/03/news-video-games-vision-correction-sight-medicine/.