Gaming is becoming the world’s largest entertainment industry. Last year, the total value of the world’s video game market was $78.61bn. A report by the Entertainment Software Association found that in 2017, two-thirds of American households played video games. That is a lot of eyes staring at screens. Since the vast majority of video games are very much reliant on sight, gamers should probably make sure that they care for their eyes when playing. If you are struggling with headaches, tired eyes, lack of focus or painful eyes, then here are some tips.
Remember to blink
This isn’t necessarily something that people need to be reminded of when going about their lives, and it seems vaguely insulting to suggest that gamers forget to blink. However, staring at a screen can affect how often you blink. The average person blinks 15 to 20 times every minute, which is 1,200 blinks an hour and 28,000 times a day. Blinking is important for various reasons, including keeping your eyes moist and letting the brain rest momentarily.
Subconsciously, we will sometimes blink when we don’t need to concentrate on anything because the brain detects this as a good time to have a very quick rest. However, when gaming, there will be long stretches when you need to concentrate, especially if you are playing a fast-paced first-person shooter where death could be around every corner. This means that your brain won’t make you automatically blink as much because it knows that you have to concentrate, leading your eyes to become dry, itchy and painful. Make sure that you remember to blink every so often to combat this.
Use eye drops
If you are still getting dry eyes from gaming and not blinking enough, then eye drops are a good way to quickly re-moisten your eyes. However, you should also remember to stay hydrated since your eyes might feel dry due to not having the moisture required for effective blinking.
When gaming, taking breaks is generally a good idea. Going off for a short walk every hour is an important way to keep your body relatively active. It also gives your eyes something else on which to focus. Make sure that you look at objects from a variety of distances away. Staring out the window is a good way to take a break from your screen because you will have just spent plenty of time staring at something right in front of you and it lets you focus on things that are far away.
Make sure that the room is lit properly
Lighting is also important in your gaming setup – remember how difficult it was to play your Game Boy without a nearby light source? Make sure that your room is properly lit, either artificially or with daylight. Your room should be evenly lit and bright enough so that the screen doesn’t seem overly bright. Additionally, avoid having light coming from directly behind your screen or pointing directly at your screen to ensure that you don’t get screen glare. Screen glare can also cause eye strain.
Invest in gaming glasses
This may be something that sounds like a scam, but gaming glasses are a real thing and they have been reported to help some gamers. Optometrists have studied the benefits of products such as Gunnar Optiks Gaming Glasses and they can have an effect. They are tinted amber to increase contrast when looking at screens, allowing you to see slightly better. The anti-reflective coating should also reduce screen glare a little.
Talk to a doctor
If you are still having problems with your vision even after trying out all of these suggestions, then the next thing to do is go to a doctor. Doctors will have a wealth of knowledge and will be well-placed to work out the problem. If they are unsure, then they will likely refer you to an eye specialist, who will be in the best position to help you out. Dr. Rohit Varma is an ophthalmologist who focuses on the treatment of glaucoma and cataracts and could certainly help.
Your eyes are absolutely essential to how you experience the world, and losing your vision would be an enormous shock. Keeping them happy and healthy should be important for everyone, but people who spend hours gaming should be particularly aware. There are lots of ways for you to keep your eyes healthy when you’re gaming.