Health Matters Spring 2021 - Page 34

How to prevent eyestrain while gaming

G aming may be the

world ’ s most popular pastime . Data from the games market and analytics experts at NewZoo estimates that roughly 2.7 billion people , or about 35 percent of the global population , participates in gaming . And gamers aren ’ t generally casual about their passion for playing , as the “ State of Online Gaming 2020 ” from Limelight Networks found that gamers spend an average of nearly 6.5 hours per week playing .
All that gaming can come at a cost , especially if gamers don ’ t take steps to protect their eyes while playing . The American Optometric Association notes that the unique characteristics and high visual demands of viewing computer and digital screens makes many individuals , such as avid gamers , susceptible to the development of vision-related problems .
Uncorrected or under-corrected vision problems can be significant contributing factors to computer-related eyestrain , a condition the AOA classifies as computer vision syndrome , or CVS . And gamers may be more vulnerable to CVS than people who routinely read printed materials due to the nature of how the eyes perform when looking at digital devices compared to the printed word . The Mayo Clinic notes that staring at screens strains the eyes more than reading printed materials because the eyes to tend to blink less when looking at screens . That leads to less moisture and more dryness in the eyes , which can lead to eyestrain . In addition , people often use devices that have glare or reflection or poor contrast between the text on the screen and the background . Over time , that can lead to eyestrain . Gamers should not downplay the significance of these differences , as even reading the instructions in a game or the captions as a game goes on can increase the risk for eyestrain .
Avid gamers concerned by the threat of eyestrain can employ various strategies to prevent it .
• Take frequent breaks . Periodic breaks during which the eyes are not focused on digital screens can provide a needed break from staring at screens .
• Limit screen time . It might be hard for avid gamers to pull themselves away from their favorite games , but limiting screen time can have a positive impact on eye health and overall health . Like the rest of the body , the eyes need rest to function at peak capacity . Limiting screen time can ensure eyes get the rest they need . In addition , sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a host of adverse health outcomes . In 2015 , a large review of studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting for long periods of time was associated with heart disease , type 2 diabetes and cancer and even increased a person ’ s risk of dying from various ailments .
• Relieve dry eyes . Overthe counter artificial tears can prevent and relieve dry eyes . The Mayo Clinic recommends using such products even when the eyes feel fine . Doing so can keep them well-lubricated and prevent a recurrence of symptoms .
• Make changes to your gaming environment . If necessary , make changes to your gaming room , including using a humidifier to keep air moist and adjusting the thermostat to reduce blowing air .
Avid gamers who spend hours each week playing their favorite games should take steps to prevent eyestrain .
— Metro Creative Connection
Avid gamers who spend hours each week playing their favorite games
should take steps to prevent eyestrain .

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34 Health Matters