You’re delighted that your loved one will be absolutely ecstatic to play his newest gift, but you might be concerned about your child’s vision after he or she spends roughly 80 hours in front of the new Fallout 4 (or your own vision, if you’re the avid gamer in the family). You’ve heard it somewhere before, but can video games really damage your vision?
HOW CAN VIDEO GAMES DAMAGE MY VISION?
Since playing video games involves staring at an illuminated screen for long durations, they can cause some of the same issues linked to long-term television viewing. Some of these afflictions can include blurred vision, headaches, and nearsightedness.
Extended gaming sessions can also result in a case of Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS. CVS (sometimes called digital eye strain) develops after staring at a television, cellular phone, tablet, or computer screen for long durations without taking significant breaks. The most common symptoms associated with CVS are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. In many cases, CVS is correlated with neck and shoulder pains simply because individuals assume improper postures while playing games or operating a computer.
An obvious and practical solution for preventing CVS — as well as any other dangers posed by gaming — is to take frequent breaks from your games or other devices. Experts also recommend that habitual gamers reduce screen glare as much as possible by diminishing or eliminating other sources of light, or simply by positioning your monitor to the appropriate angle and location. Glare from windows or other lights can force your eyes to focus harder than necessary on the screen in front of you.
HOW CAN VIDEO GAMES BENEFIT MY VISION?
There may be a few ways video games are detrimental to your vision, but that doesn’t mean there are no positive effects. One of the primary benefits of playing video games is that it can help improve your hand-eye-coordination. A 2014 study reported that adolescents who played more video games developed increased cortical thickness in numerous parts of the brain, including the left frontal eye fields, which help process visual stimuli and aids in hand-eye-coordination.
Video games can also increase an individual’s capacity for visual attention. Visual attention refers to one’s ability to focus on a single aspect of his or her environment while tuning out distractions for a prolonged period. Video games — specifically those that involve a great deal of action — will not only contribute to strong visual attention, but they can also help with figure-ground discrimination and visual reaction time. Video games can also improve a skill that typically degenerates with age called contrast sensitivity function. Contrast sensitivity function allows individuals to differentiate between shades of colors displayed on a uniform background. This ability is critical for activities such as night driving and reading.
Has your vision become pixelated after playing too many video games? Read one of our previous articles to learn more about how to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome. If your CVS has become intolerable, contact Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.