The gaming industry continues to grow rapidly, outperforming movies and music with an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide in 2021. The rise of gaming can be attributed to the wide-scale distribution of smartphones and the increasing accessibility of new technology such as Virtual Reality, and in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic.
With more time on our hands at home, gaming quickly became one of the most preferred leisure activities. Whether you are a casual gamer building detailed maps in Minecraft or an avid gamer climbing the ranks in League of Legends, the exceeding amount of time spent in front of screens can adversely affect your eyes.
What Is Video Game Eye Strain?
Eye strain refers to the feeling of fatigue and soreness when the eye is being overworked. The ailment typically arises after extended concentrated activities, such as working on the computer, reading, and gaming.
Video game eye strain is a common condition that occurs after or during prolonged gaming sessions. With brief, rapid eye movements focused within the limited area of your screen, your eyes can become overworked and strained, resulting in soreness and dryness.
Other symptoms include:
- Burning or itching eyes
- Blurred vision
- Pain in neck, shoulders or back
- Increased light sensitivity
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tired and sore eyes
If you are experiencing any of the above, please consult a medical professional to learn more about your symptoms and what their causes might be.
What Are the Causes of Eye Strain From Video Games?
Thankfully, there are solutions to eye strain from gaming, but it begins by understanding the causes.
Limited Area of Gaze & Rapid Eye Movement
The majority of gamers utilise 20-24 inch monitors. Your eyes will almost always stay within the monitor's frame when you're playing a game, resulting in eye strain.
Exceptions include streaming or other activities that need your focus to be diverted away from your gaming monitor, but the majority of your gaze will remain on it.
Aside from the limited space, many games will need you to shift your eyes quickly as you look for the enemy or watch your character's moves in this small region. Your eye muscles might be strained by these quick, tiny, repeated motions.
Exposure to Blue Light from LED’s
The visible light spectrum is what the human eye can perceive, and blue light is a portion of it. It has the shortest wavelength and the maximum energy, vibrating between 380 and 500 nanometers. High-energy visible, or "blue" light makes up around one-third of visible light. The most common source of blue light is sunlight.
Compared to the amount of blue light emitted by the sun, the amount of blue light emitted by LED screens is minimal. However, because of the closeness of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them (it's the same principle as staring at the sun for hours; think about how badly your eyes hurt after only a few seconds), there is concern about the long-term effects of screen exposure.
Excess dust accumulates on your screen without your knowledge, reducing the screen’s sharpness. As a gamer, you may notice the clarity of graphics decrease, or you may overcompensate by increasing your screen’s brightness.
On the one hand, dust increases strain on the eyes by reducing the sharpness of your screen. On the other hand, dirty screens can create puffs of dust which further irritate your eyes. Even without wind, the electrical charges from the computer screen can float dust particles toward your eyes.
3 Ways You Can Prevent Eye Strain From Gaming
Being aware of the factors that cause eye strain is the first step to enjoying hours of gaming without any eye strain. Here are some tips to help you prevent eye strain while gaming.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
A few practical habits can reduce the risk of eye strain during a game, and the 20-20-20 rule is one of them. Take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, and look at something 20 feet away.
While the 20-20-20 rule can be challenging to follow when you’re in the middle of a game with fellow online players, it’s essential to carve out the time to reduce eye fatigue and dryness. We suggest taking breaks between games by stepping away from your screen and doing something else for at least 20 seconds.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Also known as gaming glasses, blue light filtering glasses have become popular for its ability to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by LED devices. These glasses block specific wavelengths of light, as their name implies.
Blue light blocking glasses have been shown to help alleviate symptoms of eye strain, minimise melatonin suppression, improve sleep quality and duration, improve mood, and improve visual comfort.
Remove Dust From the Screen
Eliminating dust is one of the most straightforward problems to solve. OVNU’s electronic wipes offer a simple and effective solution to removing dust, dirt and harmful bacteria from your screen without damaging it. You’ll be surprised by how a simple screen cleaner and preventative habits can help you play your favourite video game for longer without hurting your eyes.
If you want to enjoy many more hours playing your favourite video games, it’s essential to take the necessary precautions. Incorporate best practices in your gaming schedule, and remember to clean your screen regularly with a quality screen cleaner to reduce eye strain.