Holiday break will soon be here, much to the delight of students everywhere. In all likelihood, their to-do lists for this time probably include gaming, friends, food and more gaming. Without a doubt, kids should relax and have fun during their time off from classes. However, parents do need to understand that setting some limits on how much time is spent gaming can be necessary to protect their kids’ vision. Here is some essential information on the dangers of too much screen time plus important ways to make gaming safer for your kids.
Gaming can lead to Digital Eye Strain
Extended gaming sessions can have consequences when it comes to vision. The main concern often cited by kids who spend a lot of time in front of a screen is digital eye strain. Also referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), digital eye strain is a group of vision-related problems that are caused by prolonged use of electronics such as televisions, computers, tablets, gaming systems, or smartphones.
The longer a person uses these types of devices, the greater effect there seems to be on eye discomfort and vision problems. And while not every person is affected in the same way, most will see one or more of the following symptoms:
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Tired eyes
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
Digital eye strain should not be ignored. In fact, prolonged instances can result in symptoms becoming more severe, and existing eye disorders such as farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia can also worsen.
Ways to Lessen the Impact of Eye Strain while Gaming
Because of the many ways gaming can impact your vision, it is important to take as many precautions as possible to limit those effects. The following actions can help contribute to healthy eyes and vision while playing.
- Don’t sit too close to the screen. The optimal distance should be at least 20 inches away for larger screens and 13 inches away for smaller screens.
- Follow the 20/20/20 rule. According to this rule, players should pause their gaming every 20 minutes and look at something more 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This simple action will help relax your eyes and reduce the strain of continuous play.
- Reduce glare from the screen. There are several ways to help reduce glare while gaming. For one, playing in the dark or in bright sunlight can increase glare from the screen. Therefore, you should play indoors and adjust the light to the proper levels to match the screen brightness. Additionally, you can install a glare-reducing screen or even wear anti-glare glasses while playing.
- Limit play time. This will not be a popular choice by many kids, but it is a very easy way to lessen the effects of a digital screen. The fact is, gaming for hours at a time is just not healthy for their eyes. Keep it to a minimum and also try to stop all digital use at least an hour before going to bed in order to avoid the blue light affecting the ability to fall asleep.
- Get a vision exam. This one may sound very unrelated. However, digital eye strain is often worse in kids with other vision issues, such as farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia. Therefore, treating these other vision conditions can help to alleviate the symptoms associated with gaming and other use of digital devices.
Schedule your Vision Exam at Family Vision Development Center
Our team is here to help ensure that you can enjoy your gaming while also maintaining your eye health! Our comprehensive vision exams will help detect any vision conditions or diseases that need to be treated. And our state-of-the-art vision center offers a variety of frames, lenses and coatings to match your needs and lifestyle. Additionally, if advanced treatment is necessary, our vision therapy programs provide an effective solution for patients of all ages. Contact us at 630-862-2020 to learn more or to schedule your appointment.
Family Vision Development Center is a full-service vision center offering innovative vision therapy services, post-concussive vision rehabilitation, comprehensive vision exams for eyeglasses and contact lenses, management of ocular diseases including glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration and cataracts, and a state-of-the-art optical center offering the latest designs in eyewear.