Gaming Can Affect Your Eyes, Too: Solutions to Common Vision Issues

Like CVS, untreated refractive errors like nearsightedness can also cause blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain.

Gaming is one hobby that, on top of being fun, offers several benefits. For example, it can improve cognitive abilities like memory and problem-solving while enhancing physical skills like hand-eye coordination. As with everything else, though, excess gaming is harmful. 

The majority of British gamers spend five to ten hours playing every week. However, Oxford University finds that you benefit less from the activity once you hit three hours. Instead, you may develop health concerns like repetitive strain injuries, skin issues, and even seizures. Yet too much gaming can affect your eyes. Here’s more on the common eye problems you may experience and how you can solve them for a healthier gaming experience. 

Common gaming-related vision issues 

Excess screen time from gaming can result in what’s known as computer vision syndrome (CVS). This condition occurs when you look at a nearby object—in this case, a screen—for prolonged periods. Your eyes aren’t designed for near work, and playing too much can affect your ability to switch between near and far vision. As a result, you may experience the following gaming-related eye issues:

  • Blurry vision. If you don’t take breaks, your eyes will start having difficulty focusing over time. 
  • Dry eyes. You blink less when you’re concentrating on a game, so your eyes get less moisture. 
  • Headaches. Active games with a lot of movement on-screen mean your eyes must rapidly follow what’s going on. This can confuse your body, which will often be sitting still, and cause headaches.
  • Eye strain. This is by far the biggest effect of CVS caused by gaming. As a result of both the near viewing of a screen and the above symptoms, your eyes need to strain more to see clearly. 

Though these vision issues won’t cause permanent eye damage, they can still irritate your eyes. You may thus experience pain and discomfort and find it difficult to concentrate on whatever you’re playing. 

How to solve the issues 

Wear gaming-friendly glasses

Like CVS, untreated refractive errors like nearsightedness can also cause blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain. That’s why the first thing you’ll want to do is check if you have any of these issues. Book an eye exam with the nearest optometrist. If they diagnose you with a refractive error, follow their advice and get prescription glasses to relieve your symptoms. Ray-Ban is one established brand you can look to for models that can correct your vision while providing gaming-friendly features. For example, its iconic Clubmaster also comes with adjustable nose pads that ensure it won’t fall off while you play. It even uses advanced light protection to block excess blue light, which you can benefit from even if you have healthy eyesight. Since the 2023 study Blue Light Exposure explained that this could cause photochemical reactions that can temporarily or permanently damage your vision, getting glasses from brands that offer this feature can prevent eye strain so you can game comfortably for longer.

Fix your gaming setup 

Rework the environment you game in so your eyes don’t need to work so hard. Start by adjusting your screen brightness to match the lighting in the room you’re playing in. Otherwise, the difference will cause eye strain. You should also place devices at an appropriate distance from your face—the American Optometric Association recommends 13 inches for smaller screens like those on smartphones and 20 inches for larger displays on computer monitors and TVs. 

Use artificial tears 

Dry eyes can lead to itchiness, excess tearing, tiredness, light sensitivity, and burning or stinging sensations. In worse cases, they can also lead to corneal ulcers. All these symptoms can affect how you perform and enjoy gaming, which is why you’ll want to keep them hydrated. Drinking more water can help, but direct lubrication may be more immediately effective. In that case, artificial tears should be used specifically to treat this condition. Bausch + Lomb is one place to get lubricating eye drops. Take Blink GelTears: its thicker consistency can provide longer-lasting moisture, which can treat moderate to severe cases of dry eyes. Look for artificial tears that can provide these effects for a better gaming experience.

Take more breaks 

Frequent breaks will give your eye muscles more opportunities to relax. You can set a timer to remind yourself to blink more often—or to help you follow the 20-20-20 rule, which involves looking 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. You can also use your breaks to do other things, like accomplishing quick household chores or taking a stroll to get some fresh air.