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In a world where more people are playing video games on various platforms, what does that mean for our eye health?

Well, every household has a gamer. Don’t believe me? Have a PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch or PC around? Thought as much. You can even play games on your phone now. Really good, thought-provoking ones with a story arc that gets you hooked for hours of end. Gamers are found across all generations, it’s not just the kids and millennials. Listen to this… Video games outsold music and video combined in 2018 for the first time, which accounted for more than half of the entire U.K. entertainment market. Wow!

Now I’ve grabbed your attention, recent studies suggest some gamers only blink once or twice every THREE MINUTES! Generally, we should be blinking at least ten blinks per minute to keep the eye lubricated throughout the day; not once or two every three minutes. Over time, this can cause the eyes to dry out and become dehydrated, leaving the eye with less healthy tears. You could say leaving the eye naked. As tears are there to protect the eyes from infections, poor quality tears can mean getting eye infections and irritations. If left untreated, it could even mean eye scarring. This leaves the surface of the corneas exposed to scarring and potentially leads to chronic vision problems. Not treating symptoms when gaming can lead to dry eye and eye strain. Don’t be the next victim of digital eyestrain.

How can I keep my eyes healthy when I game?

  1. Use suitable lighting – Dry eye and eye strain are often caused by a bright light source which is in a dark or overexposed room, such as too much sunlight coming through a window or a powerful light in a small room. Adjusting the screen and surrounding light can improve the quality of your visual experience and prevent dry eye symptoms from occurring
  2. Minimise glare – This can be done by moving around screens, covering windows, install an anti-glare screen on display, wearing glasses with an anti-reflective (AR) coating, switching to darker coloured walls or upgrading your screen that has an anti-reflective surface. Improving lighting and glare can also be done by adjusting screen settings, such as brightness, text size and contrast, and colour temperature
  3. Drink plenty of water – Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you’re playing with your friends on online mode. Feeling sleepy or fatigued is a sign of dehydration. Avoid it completely by regularly drinking water. Heck, there are even apps to remind you to drink water so there’s no excuse
  4. Blinking more – We naturally blink less when focusing on an activity and the tear coating of the eye will evaporate at a quicker rate when blinking less. As facing a bright screen will also evaporate the eyes quicker, setting reminders to blink isn’t such a silly thing after all
  5. Take small breaks regularly and exercise the eye – Taking a two-minute break regularly every 20 minutes should be mandatory to readjust the eyes. It’s called the 20-20-20 rule. Glance away from the screen to an object that is about 20 feet away, out the window if needed. You do this for 20 seconds.
  6. Take longer breaks – Gamers who invest their time in gaming should also invest in long breaks to keep their eyes at maximum shape
  7. Use eye drops – Artificial tears help gamers feel comfort when their eyes start drying out. Gamers should have eye drops on hand to use when dry eye symptoms form
  8. Modify your glasses – For the best comfort, use computer glasses when gaming to protect your eyes from dryness. For added protection, photochromic lenses reduce exposure to harmful blue light emitted by screens

Eight useful tips to improve your eye health and better your gaming experience in your down time. If you’ve found this list helpful or know a gamer that would benefit from reading this – share on Facebook or Twitter.

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