Whether you spend hours every day gaming or just casually play few times a week, staring at a screen for long periods of time can cause eye fatigue, eye strain, and even headaches. Here are some tips to help you if you are experiencing those symptoms:
I always tell my patients to follow the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Your eyes can easily feel tired when they are focused at one distance for long periods of time. Think of it in another perspective – after sitting in one position for a long time, don’t you get the urge to get up and stretch your body? Similarly, when your eyes are focused in one position for a long time, they need to stretch too. Looking away from the screen from time to time, focusing on a distant object in the room, or situating your screen next to a window so you can look outside are great ways to give your eyes a break.
Yes, you read that right. Blink! It’s been proven that the amount of times your eyes blink normally reduces when you stare at a screen. Not blinking often enough can lead to dry eye, burning and itching.
Having an evenly lit room is the best lighting setting while gaming/using the screen. But try to avoid fluorescent lighting. Also, place the screen and lighting in a way to minimize the glare which reflects off the screen. The glare can cause a lot of strain and stress to the eyes.
Be sure to see your optometrist to confirm your prescription, and whether you should be wearing glasses while gaming. Let the doctor know how far you sit away from the screen, and details about the setting so he/she can determine the best prescription for you. Many times, I prescribe glasses for computer/gaming only, which is many times different from the tradition distance and/or reading glasses.
Special lenses in your glasses can help with eye strain and fatigue, along with protect the health of your eyes. Ask your optometrist about lenses which filter blue light. Blue light exposure can deteriorate the macula, a structure in the back of your eye responsible for your central and color vision. We are exposed to blue light all the time – fluorescent lighting, phone/tablet/computer/TV screens, and even the sun. I prescribe BluTech lenses to my patients all the time. Not only do these lenses protect your eyes from UV rays and blue light, but they also have other benefits such as improving contrast and reducing glare, and improving your vision and night vision.
Let’s face it – whether you are a gamer or not, we all are regularly looking at screens every day. Take proper precautions and be aware of how to protect your eyes. Let us know if you have any questions. Schedule an Eye Exam today.
Dr. Suchi Matalia