And so it began. The very first “arcade game”. Pong by Atari in September of 1972.
Since then, video games have progressed to a frightening level of sophistication. The graphics are so advanced that it’s sometimes hard to believe that you aren’t watching a live-action film or TV show!
Video games – like any computer technology – for all of their superior content, can still cause eye strain. And, yes! Computer Vision Syndrome is a “thing”! In the same manner that carpal tunnel syndrome affects your wrists if you use them in a repetitive motion day in and day out, Computer Vision Syndrome can affect your eyes. Your eyes follow the same pattern over and over throughout the day at work on your monitor or at home when you play video games.
When you’re at a computer, a multitude of things happen. Your eyes are constantly focusing as the pixels on the monitor dance around. You usually aren’t even aware of it since it happens so quickly, but your eyes are doing all they can to keep up in order to send the information to your brain. You’re looking up and down and side to side at lightning speed and your poor eye muscles are screaming from the effort! Add to all of that the changes in contrast and lighting. Well. It’s a miracle that they don’t just leap out of your head and cower in a corner!
The news doesn’t get any better as you take your trips around the sun. With the natural aging of the eye, the internal lens gets stiffer and less flexible just like your knees. As this happens, your ability to focus from near to far and back again begins to slow down and, eventually, stop.
So. How do you get through all your hours of Fortnite and Call of Duty without suffering for your craft?
Sometimes, things as simple as changing the lighting around your work or play space can help tremendously. Position the monitor to avoid excess glare from windows or other light sources. And, while you shouldn’t use your game console or computer in a dark room, you shouldn’t have the lighting too bright, either. A good, happy medium will make your eyes ecstatic!
Place your screen about 20 to 26 inches from your eyes with the center being about 10 to 15 degrees below eye level for the most comfortable position of you head and neck.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes or so, look away from your screen at something about 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds. And don’t forget to blink! Our blink rate can slow 20 to 30 percent when we are concentrating on our screens! Dryness can exacerbate discomfort and blurriness!
And, of course, invest in a good pair of computer lenses for your glasses. Computer lenses may have a slight yellow-brown tint and a no glare finish that also reflects harmful high-energy blue light away from our eyes. Even if you don’t have a prescription, you can get a pair of glasses that will help your eyes relax.
Another by-product of excessive computer and video game use is increased exposure to high energy blue light. While the main source of blue light is the sun, continued, concentrated exposure to our electronic gadgets is making the younger generations more vulnerable to the cumulative effects of blue light..
Studies at both Harvard University and the Paris Vision Institute have proven that there is a definite relation between blue light exposure and retinal cell death. The loss of these cells increases the risk of macular degeneration exponentially and macular degeneration in the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
It’s also been shown to interfere with your circadian rhythm. By disrupting your body’s production of melatonin, high-energy blue light can cause restless or sleepless nights which, in turn, makes you more tired to begin with!
Now, don’t go throwing away all of those electronic devices that you love so much! Just visit our doctors for an annual comprehensive eye exam. Besides being able to hook you up with a good pair of computer glasses, they will also look inside your eyes to evaluate their health and let you know if there is any damage that has begun. While much of it cannot be reversed, they can offer treatments to slow down the progression of macular degeneration and cataract formation.
So, get your exam. Buy your glasses and enjoy a little Madden Football or Grand Theft Auto. Or, go online and play a little old school Pong!