Playing video games for long hours can cause vision-related problems in kids such as eye strain or computer vision syndrome. When your eyes are exposed to excessive screen time, you may experience symptoms such as eye fatigue, blurry vision, eye discomfort and headaches.
Kids get so addicted to video games, that they forget to take breaks in between. Continuous use of display screens can put your eye health at risk and may even cause focusing problems, especially in developing children.
Why is screen time bad for our eyes?
Keeping your head buried in a screen can cause problems with your eye health. Display screens emit blue light which inhabits short wavelengths that contain more energy. This light is harmful to our eyes and leads to ocular exhaustion. This is why opticians recommend you have a blue light coating on your prescription glasses lenses to combat this problem.
When you’re staring at screens, you often think that your eyes are at rest and aren’t working hard. But, this is not true. In fact, the opposite of that is true.
Your eyes put more effort during screen time as compared to any other activity. Also, people tend to blink less when they’re looking at display screens. When our mind is focused on something, we tend to blink our eyes less so we don’t miss anything. But, it only leads to dry and irritated eyes which can turn into a huge problem over time.
How do video games affect your vision?
Most video games are long and take hours to finish. This is a lengthy commitment and will require your eyes to focus on the screen for a long time. Long-term exposure to blue light leads to a few temporary visual symptoms like headaches, blurred vision or even nearsightedness.
Prolonged hours of using screens at close proximity can even lead to computer vision syndrome. This problem is also known as digital eye strain and has symptoms similar to the ones we talked about above.
So, if your kids are into video games, you need to make sure they are taking frequent breaks to give their eyes some rest. If they need vision correction, you can buy prescription glasses online or offline loaded with blue light filters so they don’t strain their eyes while playing.
Also, the positioning of the device and your posture matter if you don’t want to have bad back or neck and shoulder pain.
The eyes focus differently when you’re looking at a screen than when you’re reading a book. When reading a book, newspaper or magazine, your eyes know exactly at what distance to focus to give you the clearest vision.
But, this is quite different with display screens. Since these screens shave blue light, the contrast is off due to which the eyes need to constantly change their focus and get tired in the process.
Also, when playing video games, people tend to focus their eyes on the screen for far too long than they should. This makes it a tough job for the eyes to focus on any other distance even long after you finish playing.
If you’re a professional player, then you need to protect your eyes while you play your favourite video games for hours. Invest in a good-quality pair of gaming glasses that not only block blue light but reduce screen glare and magnify your vision so you can see the images on the screen in a wide frame.
You can turn your normal glasses frames for men or women into gaming glasses by replacing the lenses with the ones that have blue light filters in them. This process is called reglazing glasses where you only change the lens and save yourself the cost of buying a whole pair.
What should parents do?
If your kids enjoy playing video games, encourage them to limit the time and take frequent breaks. Don’t let them play continuously for more than 20 minutes. You can take them out to the park so they can indulge in some outdoor activities as well. It will take their minds off of gaming.
Make sure they’re sitting at an appropriate distance from the screen. Using devices in close proximity makes you more likely to fall victim to digital eye strain.